Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Controversial school merger call

School closure protest
Several protests have been held against Glasgow's school closure plan

A controversial call has been made to merge two closure-threatened primary schools in Glasgow - one of which is Catholic, the other non-denominational.

Some parents believe a merger or shared campus would avoid pupils at Wyndford and St Gregory's primaries from having to move to schools outside Maryhill.

The Catholic Church said there were "no such proposals on the table".

Glasgow city council is consulting on plans to close 13 primary schools and 12 nurseries in a bid to save money.

Mary Watson, who has a grandson at Wyndford Primary said it was "ridiculous" that both local schools were being targeted for closure.

She said it was a "good idea" for both schools to "come together" to avoid children having to travel outside the area.

Another parent, who did not want to be named, said it would be better to pursue the shared campus option as both schools could stay open.

She said: "I'd like to see both schools kept open. I'd like to see all the teachers keep their jobs. I'd like to see all the weans stay in one school.

"But if we do have to have a shared campus at least we're going to have one school in the community.

"If we don't have any schools then no-one will move here and the nurseries will close."

The Scottish Labour MSP for Maryhill, Patricia Ferguson, backs the idea of a shared campus but said a merger could not be ruled out.

It would not be appropriate to speculate on a hypothetical idea such as that being aired in Wyndford when there are no such proposals on the table
Catholic Church spokesman
"I think it's a very interesting idea which shows the frustration that the parents have," she said.

"Obviously any proposal like that would need the sign-off of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, discussions would need to take place and I'm not aware of what their views are.

"But I'm not convinced at this stage that it would be impossible to create a joint-campus school in a way that would allow the Archdiocese to be comfortable with what's there."

The Liberal Democrat MSP for Glasgow, Robert Brown, said the council needed to pick-up on the co-operation being shown by parents from both schools.

"It's eminently practical to build on the close arrangements between the two schools where there are some shared classes and activities which meet both needs," he said.

Any proposal to merge the two schools would likely face opposition from the Catholic Church.

Separate identity

It has offered support in the past for some shared-campus schools but it strongly defends the separate identity of Catholic schools.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said: "The Church recognises Glasgow City Council's legitimate concerns about matching appropriate buildings to the school-going population of an area, and also understand the concerns of parents who feel worried about planned school closures in their own districts.

"However, it would not be appropriate to speculate on a hypothetical idea such as that being aired in Wyndford when there are no such proposals on the table."

Glasgow City Council's education spokesman, Bailie Gordon Matheson, said a "number of alternative proposals have been submitted" regarding the schools.

"We have been encouraging people to take part in the consultation process as this is their chance to make their views known," he said.

"We've been holding a series of public meetings which have been well attended and I'm pleased that so many parents, carers and other people are taking part.

"No decision will be made on any of the proposals until a meeting of the council on 23 April.

"Any alternative proposal would be highlighted to councillors at that meeting, along with an approximate cost and likely viability.

"If councillors decide that an alternative proposal has merit, then they can vote to put it out to consultation."

Establishment Receiving establishment Merged establishment Saving (full year)
Sighthill Primary Royston Primary Royston Primary 186,372
St Gilbert's Primary St Philomena's Primary St Philomena's Primary 238,287
Barmulloch Primary St Gilbert's Primary Barmulloch Primary As above
Victoria Primary Annette St. Primary/ Cuthbertson Primary Annette St. Primary/ Cuthbertson Primary 207,721
Bellahouston Primary Ibrox Primary Ibrox Primary 194,999
Albert Primary Elmvale Primary Elmvale Primary 241,380
St Agnes' Primary St Blane's Primary St Blane's Primary 186,140
St Aloysius' Primary St Stephen's Primary St Stephen's Primary 198,845
St Gregory's Primary St Mary's Primary St Mary's Primary 234,498
Wyndford Primary Parkview Primary Parkview Primary 219,082
St James' Primary Alexandra Parade Primary Alexandra Parade Primary 208,698
Ruchill Primary Westercommon Primary Westercommon Primary 226,601
Our Lady of the Assumption Primary St Cuthbert's Primary St Cuthbert's Primary 165,281
Shawbridge Nursery Pollokshaws Day Nursery Pollokshaws Day Nursery 180,652
Kinning Park Nursery Festival Park Nursery Festival Park Nursery 70,860
Merrylee Nursery Class Holmlea Day Nursery Holmlea Day Nursery 32,445
Mile End Nursery Bridgeton FLC Bridgeton FLC 111,161
Garscube Nursery Cowcaddens Day Nursery Cowcaddens Day Nursery 72,535
Craigielea Nursery/Broompark Day Nursery St Denis' Primary New Early Years' Centre 255,230
Anderston Nursery Class Anderson St. Nursery Anderson St. Nursery 77,184
Queen Mary St. Nursery London Road Nursery London Road Nursery 244,067
Newark Dr. Nursery/Nithsdale Rd. Nursery/ Pollokshields Nursery Class New Early Years' Centre in Pollokshields Primary Anxe New Early Years' Centre in Pollokshields Primary Anxe 169,721
Source: Glasgow City Council

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