School closures row: Find out what families want, say Greens

The City Council should be doing much more to find out why families are fleeing city neighbourhoods, before even thinking about school closures.

That’s according to the Green Group of Councillors, who, in a letter to the Director of Children and Families, have proposed detailed research looking at the reasons behind falling numbers of families with children in the city.

The Greens Education spokesperson, Councillor Alison Johnstone, said:

It is clear that the schools closures debacle is not simply or even mostly about education policy.  The backdrop is the flight of families from the city at the same time that the population overall is rising.

Greens believe that falling schools rolls are an opportunity to cut class sizes.  But we also believe that, for the long term, the council needs to get a better understanding of why families are moving from the city. Is it push factors? like traffic problems or unaffordable house prices?  Or is it pull factors? in other locations in the Lothians, Fife or the Borders?

I believe that we should not simply lie down to past trends in population movement.  Before making huge, long term decisions over schools, the Council needs to know what kinds of policies it could and should have in the future?