Page last updated at 20:30 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Close and merge plan for schools

Barmulloch and St Agnes' Primary Schools
Barmulloch (left) and St Agnes' Primary Schools could be closed

More than 2,000 children in Glasgow could be affected by proposals to close 13 primary schools and 12 nurseries.

Councillors will be asked later this month to consult with parents, staff and unions over the move.

If final approval is given, children could be merged into new schools and nurseries from August.

Some parents, who contacted the BBC, accused the council of being "underhand" and said the proposed consultation would be "a sham".

Education officials have carried out a "city-wide assessment" of schools and nurseries which could be involved in potential mergers.

This takes into account educational benefit, building capacity and occupancy, transport arrangements and the wider community impact.

The full proposals will go before the council's executive committee on 23 January, with further discussion planned for a meeting of the full council six days later.

If approved, the proposed consultation process, including a series of public meetings, would last for six weeks.

A final decision taken by the council would be expected by 23 April.

Glasgow City Council leader, Councillor Steven Purcell, said many of the schools and nurseries identified for possible closure were "crumbling and half empty".

Councillor Steven Purcell explains the proposal to shut schools

"Children deserve to be in better accommodation, but in this financial climate we cannot afford to build new schools and nurseries through prudential borrowing," he said.

"In addition, the Scottish Government refuses to use PPP and there is no sign of its suggested replacement, the Scottish Futures Trust, being able to provide the schools and nurseries we need.

"In my opinion, our only option is to merge schools and nurseries. We plan to spend 5m improving the receiving schools and nurseries.

"The young people affected by the mergers will, in future, receive a better education in better accommodation."

The SNP group on Glasgow City Council called for each school to be looked at on its merits and warned against a "blanket" of cuts.

Councillor Patricia Gibson, education spokeswoman for the SNP, added: "Labour's claims that the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) is unready to meet the needs of Glasgow schools are simply not true.

"Taxpayers in Glasgow will be paying for Labour's discredited PPP secondary school project for decades; that Labour-controlled Glasgow has chosen not to be among the councils working constructively with the Scottish Government on the SFT proposal is very disappointing".

Some parents have contacted BBC Scotland to express their anger over the proposals.

'Sham consultation'

Agnes Green from Glasgow said: "I've just been told that my son will have to move schools in August if this proposal goes through.

"I can't believe the council was so underhanded. We were told three years ago that there was a new school getting built in the Ruchill area.

"Now my child's supposed to go to Westercommon Primary in Possilpark. No way. I'm not standing for this."

Paul McMillan from Glasgow said: "It's clear that this is a financially motivated decision as Glasgow City Council expects to save 3.7m per year from these closures.

"There will be the all too familiar sham consultation process, and then the plans will be rubber-stamped by the council.

"Merging nurseries and primary schools into large groups will not lead to better education for children.

"The positive ethos and atmosphere which many of these smaller establishments currently have will be lost."

The council said it had spent 550m on school building improvement over the past 10 years - building 64 new schools and refurbishing five others.

These projects were funded using Public Private Partnership (PPP) funding, borrowing and receipts generated from the sale of surplus land and property.

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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