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From Bebo Group
A group of parents have ended their sit-in at a threatened school in North Lanarkshire.
Five protesters refused to leave St Matthew’s Primary School in Wishaw. The four parents and a grandmother began the protest just after 3pm on Thursday when pupils left the building for the day and took resident in a parents’ room.
They left at approximately 9am on Friday morning.
Christine McGeechan, who has two grandchildren at the school, joined the protest along with her daughter Helen Lamb.
She told STV News: “We were going to stay in as long as it was needed, but I was told that because I, along with another mother, did not have a Disclosure Scotland form, they would have to send the children to another school today unless we left.
“We didn’t want the children to go to another school. We did what we set out to do. We came in as five and decided to leave as five.”
The protest is one of a number staged by campaigners in Scotland in the last year as local authorities, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, were faced with falling rolls and tighter budgets.
Last year North Lanarkshire Council approved budget cuts of £15million. The local authority announced a public consultation on the school closures – which ends on Friday – blaming a fall in school rolls and expensive building repair costs as the reasons behind the plans.
As an alternative, children at the Catholic school – which lies in the shadow of Ravenscraig – would be relocated to two others, St Brendan’s or St Thomas.
The council is also proposing to close Gartsherrie in Coatbridge, Belvidere in Bellshill and St Francis of Assisi, Cumbernauld.
North Lanarkshire Council has defended the proposals saying the school is well under-capacity with only 100 out of a possible 308 pupils attending the school, which is based between the communities of Craigneuk and Wishawhill.
They said there are a total of 700 empty spaces at schools in Wishaw
A helpful guide for opposing school closures can be found here.