Green councillors hit out at plans for school closures

In the run up to a Council announcement on school closures expected next week, Green councillor, Alison Johnstone, has written to all school parent councils in the city setting out the Greens’ arguments against closures.

With the City Council expected to signal the axing of at least 4 primaries and 1 secondary school in the next 3 years, the Greens’ briefing looks at whether the case for closure has been well-made.  It argues that:

      -          Claims that primary schools have up to 9,000 surplus places are over-inflated and unrelated to the day to day  working   of schools.

-          The population of children aged 5-12 is set to rise by 20% by 2020.

-          Economic conditions mean that already falling demand for private sector places is likely to worsen in the future.

-          Closing neighbourhood schools would be bad for children being able to walk to school, with knock-on effects for obesity and traffic congestion.

Councillor Johnstone, the Green spokesperson on education, said:

“Greens are not arguing against all closures.  There are occasions when the community accepts that a school is no longer viable and that the education of the children is best-served by going to another school.

“But that is quite different from a larger-scale programme of closures.  We know from our own experience in this city over the last two years that closures are deeply controversial.  We see along the M8 the problems that Glasgow City Council has encountered because it cannot get parents and communities on board.

 “So it is essential that closures are not simply driven by short term budget issues, disguised in a cloak of misleading figures.  Telling all parents that the only way their school can be funded properly is by dancing on the grave of other schools is divisive and wrong.�

ENDS

Notes to Editor

1. The City Council is expected to announce plans to close schools no later than 9 June, prior to the Education, Children and Families Committee meeting on 16 June.