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Last Updated: Monday, 22 October 2007, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Go ahead for school merger plans
Primary class (generic)
Locals in Glenisla campaigned against the plans
Controversial proposals to merge three rural schools have been approved, despite an admission that the public was not properly consulted.

Angus Council has voted in favour of building a new campus at Peel Farm.

It will replace Glenisla, Kilry and Lintrathen primaries, affecting about 60 pupils.

The local authority's director of education has admitted communities were not involved early enough in the decision making process.

However, parents were widely consulted about the proposals and invited to give their opinions on a number of occasions.

In a report before the council's education committee, Education Director Jim Anderson described the amount of opposition to the plans as "disappointing".

Insufficient efforts

He added that a petition against the proposals, signed by 66 people, presented a "real challenge".

He said: "Those who have commented that 'the community' was not involved in consultations at a sufficiently early stage may well have a point.

"In defence of the approach taken it is perhaps worth saying that parents and children are equal members of any community: the discussions which have been ongoing since March 2006 were not conducted in secret, and it has been assumed (possibly wrongly) that informal networks would have been operating so that local people who are not parents were being made aware - in general terms - about the proposals being discussed.

"Although parents must be seen as the key stakeholders in this process, the criticism that insufficient efforts were made earlier in the process to engage the community are acknowledged and accepted."

He recommended that Angus Council approve the plans, which were supported by about three quarters of families with children at the schools.

The local authority now needs permission from Scottish Government ministers to proceed with the proposals.

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