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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Parents lose school status fight
St Mary's Dunblane
Parents said St Mary's had "thrived"
Parents at Scotland's only opted-out school have lost their long-running legal battle to remain outside local authority control.

Three appeal judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh rejected a request to allow St Mary's Episcopal Primary School in Dunblane to retain self-governing status.

They found that, contrary to the parents' claim, there was no suggestion that teaching or subjects on the curriculum would alter with a transfer in control.

Stirling Council took over the running of the school on 7 January following a decision by the Scottish Executive.


Examination of the legislation and the matters complained of in this case does not indicate that they distinguish parents at St Mary's from other parents in the education system

Lord Cameron

Parents had argued that the move was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Their action was brought in the name of Giles and Katherine Dove, who have three children at the school.

They said the legislation was flawed because it did not treat the school equally with Glasgow's Jordanhill School, a grant-aided school which is to remain autonomous.

Last year, their legal arguments were rejected by Lord Eassie during a judicial review at the Court of Session.

Philosophical argument

On Wednesday their appeal to have Stirling Council's move reversed was heard by Lords Cameron, Macfadyen and Sutherland.

Parents believed the school thrived under its self-governing status and that their children's education benefitted as a result.

However, Lord Cameron, said the judges believed the submissions made for the parents were "ill-founded".

Pupils
Parents said pupils would benefit

"Nor, apart from an assertion of a belief to the contrary, is there any suggestion that such a transfer of management control would adversely affect the education of the pupils at St Mary's," he said.

"Examination of the legislation and the matters complained of in this case does not indicate that they distinguish parents at St Mary's from other parents in the education system, including those with children at Jordanhill School, by virtue of their status as a group of philosophical convictions."

The school had been granted the right to manage its own budget by opting out of the old Central Regional Council in 1995 under the Conservative government's 1989 Self Governing Schools (Scotland) Act.

See also:

14 May 02 | Scotland
14 Dec 01 | Scotland
22 Nov 01 | Scotland
28 Aug 01 | Scotland
07 Jun 00 | Scotland
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