Commenting on the decision by Dumfries and Galloway Council to “pause” the current consultation on the future of Ae, Garlieston and Kirkbean Primary schools, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said:
“The process has seen a fantastic response from local communities in each area who have displayed the passion they have for their local schools. When a school roll falls significantly then sadly shutting a school is sometimes the only option but that isn’t the case with these schools where numbers are on the rise and parents strongly oppose closure. In my submission to the consultation I made the point that school rolls would actually be higher in each school but some parents had understandably chosen to send their kids elsewhere because they were worried the school would close. The council should therefore now completely remove the possibility of closure which has dangling over these schools and that will give more parents the confidence to send their kids to their local school”.
“I would also urge parents and local communities to keep involved. I spoke to a number of residents during the process who admitted that the consultation meetings had been the first time they had been in the local school for years. The schools need to capture the enthusiasm they have seen from the community during this process and use it to get more people involved in the school.”
“Whilst its right not to close these schools, the public know that the council will now have to add the savings they would have made from closure to the list of cuts they have to find elsewhere. More and more people are waking up to the fact that councils across Scotland are having to make these types of tough decisions because Governments at UK and Scottish level are imposing massive cuts on local services. The public need to start to show the same level of fight against austerity as they rightly did to save schools and start to send a clear message to Government- no more cuts”