Two Glasgow primary schools set to be shut and a new one opened - despite strong criticism of plan

Two Glasgow primary schools are set to be closed - with a new one opening after the summer break.

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The City Administration Committee at Glasgow City Council will be given an update on the futures of St Stephen’s RC Primary and St Kelvin’s ALN Primary later this week.

Council officials have recommended that the closures of the two schools and the opening of the one school be approved.

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But this plan has not been without criticism.

Plans criticised

The two schools were moved into the £22 million Sighthill Community Campus in 2019, giving children in the mainstream and additional needs sectors to learn together with environments suitable for all needs.

The kids at St Kelvin’s, which has 64 pupils, have a range of additional support needs and have been working with the kids at St Stephen’s on a range of activities.

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The consultation process involved an online questionnaire, as well as a public meeting that no one attended.

But of the 16 responses to the proposal, 83 per cent came out against it, with just 17 per cent in favour.

The common argument made in the critical responses was that the children at St Kelvin’s require specialist enhanced support that would not be available in a mainstream setting.

It was felt that they would miss out on this support, and, as a result, their education would suffer.

The second common criticism was that the schools have existed for more than 40 years, and that this change would remove part of the history of the area.

Support for the plan

Education Scotland said it has seen strong support for the plan and that some see it as a natural step for the schools, which have shared a head teacher since 2018.

It also confirmed that the Archdiocese of Glasgow is supportive of the plan.

The report, to be given to councillors later this week, states: “The establishment of a new school will allow the stakeholders to develop further as a diverse, inclusive, and forward looking school community taking full account of its current and evolving context.”

Responding to the concerns over the support for children currently at St Kelvin’s, the report notes that staffing and resource levels in place will be maintained at the new school.

It adds: “Education Services is fully committed to meeting the needs of all learners in the combined school.

“Education will continue to ensure that children who previously had specialist support provided within St. Kevin’s will continue to have the same level of support in the combined school.

“The children currently work together in different contexts, as appropriate to the needs of learners, this will continue to be the approach and where required children will work either individually or in distinct groups according to their needs.”

What happens next?

The councillors on the committee will be asked to support the closure of the two schools and the creation of the new school on Thursday. If this happens, the new school should open its doors in August 2022.

However, if the proposal is approved, there is a three-week window in which people can make representations to Scottish Ministers asking for the case to be called in.

Ministers then have a five-week period to make a decision on whether or not to call in the case.