BY Daniel Harkins | October 30 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Government considering community school plan for St Joseph’s

The Scottish Government are seriously considering proposals by parents of St Joseph’s Primary School in Milngavie to transform the school into a parent run community school.

St Joseph’s—the only Catholic school in Milngavie —is set to close after East Dunbartonshire Council took the decision to merge the school with St Andrew’s in Bearsden in a new build despite widespread opposition (above).

Following a meeting earlier this year with First Minster Nicola Sturgeon, and winning the support of Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, the St Joseph’s parents have now proposed they take over the school’s management and have drawn up a discussion document laying out their plans.

A spokesperson for the parents said that the government have asked them to produce a business case with more detail on the practical issues about the schools operation and the benefits to the community.

The discussion document proposes the school ground be transferred over by the council and funding be provided by the Scottish Government and the third sector—which encompasses charities, voluntary groups, social enterprises and co-operatives.

The model is the preferred option of three submitted to the government for a pilot phase to begin in April 2016. The other two are direct funding without third sector support, similar to Jordanhill School in Glasgow and private and third sector funding.

All schools in Scotland are currently funded via local authorities with the exception of special schools for the disabled, private schools and Jordanhill.

The parents believe the school would become an integral part of the local community and would allow the school to pursue innovative approaches to education.

“The Scottish Government is looking seriously at our ideas and we have had two positive meetings with the First Minister,” Paula Speirs from the campaign said. “What we are asking for is a pilot scheme, which would give us time to show that a community school based on co-operative principles can work.

“We have already seen in Scotland how democratic control of land can have a transformative effect on people’s lives and we believe true parent power could have a similar impact in the classroom.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said the Minister for Learning and Skills, Dr Alasdair Allan, continues to engage with the parents over their proposal.East Dunbartonshire Council plan to open the new merged school in Bearsden for the 2017/2018 term.


—Read the Full story in this week’s SCO.


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