Parents' protest against closures

PARENTS of nine closure-threatened schools are joining forces to form a mass protest outside council offices.

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They will picket East Dunbartonshire Council's head office, following threats to 24 out of 36 local schools, to fight for what they feel is best for their children.

Debbie Gribbon, who has two daughters at Woodhill Primary – Erin, 10, and Mia, five – said: "It is important all the schools in East Dunbartonshire that are unhappy with the proposals stand together and show the council that we will fight this.

"We are united in the fact that we want what is best for our children and we will support each other as we move ahead."

Debbie, 33, has arranged a protest this Saturday, at 1pm outside the council's Kirkintilloch headquarters, and hopes hundreds of parents will turn out to show their support.

East Dunbartonshire's education department claims mergers are necessary in the face of falling rolls and that the current school estate is dated.

Former Bearsden Primary pupils, music legend Mark Knopfler and Pop Idol star Darius Campbell, have joined children's author Julia Donaldson and LibDem MP Jo Swinson in backing the campaign.

Bearsden and Woodhill are among the 24 schools that would be closed or merged under four separate plans.

The first "package" covers Bearsden, Castlehill, Westerton and Colquhoun Park primaries, while Package B covers Bishopbriggs and would see various mergers between Auchinairn, Woodhill, Balmuildy, Meadowburn and Wester Cleddens.

A third set of proposals would affect Lenzie, Lenzie Moss, Lennoxtown, Craighead, St Agatha's, St Flannan's, Gartconner, Harestanes, Hillhead and Oxgang primaries and Merkland special needs school. The final package covers Milngavie and would see changes to Milngavie, Clober and Baldernock schools.

A consultation, which has seen 10,000 questionnaires sent out, will run until February 4 before the council makes a decision in March on what schools should close or merge.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: "We have already delivered six fantastic new secondary schools and now it is time to invest in the improvement of the primary estate, ensuring our young people have the best possible facilities.

"We face challenging financial times and by committing to improve our primary estate, we are ensuring the required investment is planned for."

For more information about the protest, email debbiegribbon@hotmail.com.

catriona.stewart@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Education

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