Schools in Kirkintilloch and Bishopbriggs in fight for survival

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PRIMARY schools could close if cost cuts go ahead in East Dunbartonshire.

The results of a consultation on the future of schools was presented to councillors last week, following a series of events and workshops with residents, pupils and teachers earlier in the year.

While no final decisions have been made, retaining all existing schools is said to be “not an option” due to “lack of educational benefits and financial viability”.

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The favoured way forward is to merge schools or to create money-saving joint campuses.

Possible mergers being considered include:

* Wester Cleddens Primary and either Woodhill or Auchinairn Primary.

* St Helen’s Primary and St Matthew’s Primary.

* Auchinairn Primary and Wester Cleddens Primary.

* Lennoxtown Primary and Craighead Primary.

* Lenzie Moss Primary and Lenzie Primary.

* One or more mergers centred around Gartconner Primary, Oxgang Primary, Hillhead Primary, Harestanes Primary, St Agatha’s Primary and St Flannan’s Primary.

Schools which could pair up on new joint campuses include St Helen’s and Woodhill primaries, Merkland and Campsie View schools, Lennoxtown and St Machan’s primaries, and Holy Family and Lenzie Moss primaries

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The results of the consultation will now be analysed before recommendations are presented to a special meeting of the council on December 10.

There will then be further consultation in January 2013 before the final decisions are made.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “The approach we are taking to improving our primary school estate is comprehensive.

“We have started off from a blank sheet and sought input from our schools and communities rather than presenting any pre-determined options.

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“Following this next detailed appraisal process we will be consulting on the options available to us before any formal statutory consultation is taken forward, to ensure we take on board the public view.

“At the stakeholder/professionals workshops in September there was unanimous agreement that ‘doing nothing’ was not an option for our primary school estate.

“The comprehensive programme that we have put in place to deliver council wide-improvements will ensure that the primary schools in East Dunbartonshire are able to meet the changing educational challenges of the future and continue to deliver educational excellence for our young people.”

But SNP group leader Councillor Ian Mackay slammed the administration for “running headlong down the wrong path” and refusing to consider keeping all the primary schools.

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