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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Four-pupil school closure blocked
Desks
The executive has rejected council plans to close the school
A closure-listed Galloway school has been saved after the Scottish Executive rejected council plans to shut it.

The authority wanted to close Glentrool Primary because it said pupil numbers were set to drop to just four.

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop has refused to sanction the move and instead given her backing to locals who had fought to retain the school.

Director of education Fraser Sanderson claimed it was a "political decision" which was not in pupils' interests.

South of Scotland SNP MSP Alasdair Morgan said he hoped it would prompt a review of strategy on small schools.

Councillors had agreed to seek the closure of Glentrool Primary earlier this year.

Instead of pulling up the drawbridge they are going to have to see what they can actually do to make Glentrool the kind of place that can support a school
Alasdair Morgan MSP

The move came despite a campaign to save the school, which locals claimed delivered high standards of education.

Mr Sanderson said at the time there was no evidence the closure would negatively affect the community.

Residents expressed fears the move would prompt families to leave the area.

Mr Morgan said the decision would have a big impact.

"Clearly the minister has taken the view that the council were being rather short-sighted," he said.

"I suspect the council will now have to go back to the drawing board.

"Instead of pulling up the drawbridge they are going to have to see what they can actually do to make Glentrool the kind of place that can support a school."

'Political decision'

The director of education said he was "disappointed but not totally surprised" by the decision.

"I think that this is a political decision which attaches more importance to a community planning process than to the educational and welfare needs of children," he said.

"I am interested in having children in an educational setting which will allow them to work with, to play with and to develop along with other children of their own age and with similar interests.

"I don't believe that this can be achieved in a school of four pupils."


SEE ALSO
Council agrees to school closure
25 Apr 07 |  South of Scotland

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