BY Ryan McDougall | December 13 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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Midlothian parents get ready to fight for St Luke’s Primary School

Catholic parents from one school in Midlothian are stepping up their efforts to push back against proposals which could see their Faith school closed.

The parent forum of St Luke’s Primary, Mayfield, has this week stated it will push for a better option amidst an ongoing Midlothian Council review which could see their school closed, merged with another, or become part of a shared campus.

Midlothian has seven Catholic primary schools and one Catholic high school.

The council is currently discussing eight different options in order to make savings, although no decision has yet been made.

 

Options

The options include merging the seven Catholic primary schools into one, which would be located on the St David’s High School campus.

A parent forum spokesperson said retaining the status quo is not on the cards, and that they would ideally like to see St Luke’s and Mayfield Primary—with which it shares a campus—rebuilt, an option the council is not considering at the moment.

The spokesperson said: “In August all the parents in Midlothian were invited to a denominational review and were told there is a £90,000 shortfall in budget.

“We were shown the eight options but, apart from the status quo option, they all involved closing the school.

“The issue that causes for us is that, out of all the schools, ours is the largest with a roll of 200 children and in the area it has the largest number of Catholics attending too.”

 

SIMD

The parent group also cited concerns that most of the St Luke’s pupils would have to walk around two miles or use public transport to get to any of the other schools, stating that some parents may not be able to afford the transport.

They also stated that using public transport would also go against the government’s walking to school initiative.

The spokesperson said: “Mayfield scored high on the SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation), so a lot of parents can’t actually afford to pay for public transport.”

According to the parent forum, parents were informed by the council that another factor in closing the school was that there were no newly qualified teachers on placement at the Catholic school, though in fact there were two probationers last year.

 

 

Heart of the community

St Luke’s and Mayfield Primary was the first combined RC and non-denominational schools campus in Scotland, built in 1953.

The spokesperson said: “It has been at the heart of the community since 1953. There’s no fighting between the pupils of St Luke’s and Mayfield Primary.

“If St Luke’s was merged with another school or schools, would the pupils feel as happy there?”

They added: “For St Luke’s, we would like to see it rebuilt, alongside Mayfield Primary and that way we could retain our identity.”

The parent forum has a protest planned outside the council chambers on February 11, before a decision is set to be made.

 

Council response

The denominational review is currently in its pre-consultation phase.

A Midlothian Council spokesperson confirmed the formal consultation would take place next year.

Asked if an option to rebuild both St Luke’s and Mayfield Primary could be added to the list of options, the council spokesperson said: “The discussion models presented at the recent pre-consultation will seek views on models developed based on feedback received.

“The aim of the review is to strengthen the future provision of Catholic education in Midlothian. Catholic identity would be retained in all models under consideration.”

The school has launched a petition and a Facebook page to save St Luke’s, provide the community with updates, and to push for a rebuild.

— To keep up to date, visit https://www.facebook.com/Midlothiancatholicschools/

— To sign the petition, click here

 

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