Teachers’ union slams plans to close South Lanarkshire primary schools

From East Kilbride News

THE country’s largest teaching union has condemned proposals which could see up to a dozen local primary schools closed.

As exclusively reported in last week’s News, South Lanarkshire Council are proposing to close and merge several schools.

The council now look set to consult on the proposed closures as budget cuts will probably hit plans to replace or upgrade every primary school in the area.

Commenting on the school closures, Bill Ramsay, South Lanarkshire local association secretary of the EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union said: “These school closures in South Lanarkshire, which will be replicated all over the country in the coming years, are the beginning of the biggest contradiction in public services since the 1930s.

We in the EIS ask why must our children pay for other people’s mistakes? Why must the new Government choose a path of austerity budgets to deal with the economic crisis?

There is an alternative economic strategy which the EIS, indeed the whole trade union movement and even some politicians, are prepared to consider.”

If the proposals were to go ahead it would see Auldhouse Primary and Sandford Primary close altogether and move in with existing schools – as well as several mergers.

Those affected would be Hunter, Long Calderwood, Canberra, East Milton, South Park, Murray, Heathery Knowe, St Louise and Our Lady of Lourdes primaries.

Four new schools would be built to accommodate pupils from these schools.

The News also understands job losses are likely. However, as the council operate a no compulsory redundancies policy, they are likely to be met by voluntary means.

As part of The Schools (Consultation) Scotland Act 2010, which came into effect in April, everyone from parents, pupils, community groups, trade unions and education bodies require to be consulted.

The proposals will go before the council’s Executive Committee today (Wednesday) when councillors will decide whether or not to go ahead with consultation on the proposals.

Last week when the News revealed the proposals, a spokeswoman for South Lanarkshire Council said the schools’ modernisation review – into how best to deliver on their aim of ensuring all primary school children have access to modern accommodation – was complete.

The council this week had no further comment to make ahead of today’s executive committee meeting.

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