McAlpine ‘delighted’ at victory for schools campaign

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MSP Joan McAlpine has said she is ‘delighted’ that the Council has back-tracked over plans to close Ae, Kirkbean and Garlieston primary schools.


Joan – who worked with parents to oppose the plans – said the five year moratorium for rural schools will bring relief to parents who have fought so hard to keep their schools open.


Commenting, the SNP MSP said:


“It was clear a few weeks ago when the Council attempted to pause the process that they had listened to parents and campaigners and abandoned plans to close the school.


“However, experts rightly identified a flaw, which meant that abandoning the process may not guarantee the five year moratorium, which is enshrined in legislation in Scotland.


“Quite understandably parents wanted the Council to take a belts and braces approach, in order to ensure that no new proposal to close the school could be brought forward for at least five years – which they appear to have now done.”


Ms McAlpine had enlisted the help of Sandy Longmuir of Scotland’s Rural Schools Network to assist parents.  She also asked questions in Parliament and submitted to the Council’s consultation.


The MSP praised the hard work put in by Sandy and the parents in fighting this move.


She said:


“Parents, communities and politicians like myself campaigned against this move – with the help of Sandy Longmuir we were able to pick apart the Council officers’ case for closure which was based on flawed figures, a flawed consultation process and a misunderstanding of the law – which presumes against the closure of rural schools.”


“The important thing is that the campaign against the school closure has been successful – this is a real victory for people power.”