Kirk­bean School pe­ti­tion launched

Par­ent coun­cil seek­ing on­line sup­port

The Galloway News - - NEWS - An­drew McNair

A “Save Kirk­bean Pri­mary” pe­ti­tion has been launched by sup­port­ers of the 300-year-old school.

They in­sist the clo­sure would be “dev­as­tat­ing” to the close-knit ru­ral community.

The on­line pe­ti­tion, cre­ated by par­ent coun­cil mem­ber Katy McIntosh, has racked up more than 500 sig­na­tures in a week.

They in­clude a for­mer head teacher and many past pupils who be­lieve the school’s set­ting makes it too good to lose.

The coun­cil has started a con­sul­ta­tion on the clo­sure due to low pupil num­bers.

It cur­rently has 12 chil­dren at­tend­ing classes and that is set to drop to 10 next year.

Mrs McIntosh said: “The threat­ened clo­sure of our lovely coun­try school would be po­ten­tially dev­as­tat­ing for our close-knit ru­ral community.

“It is sur­rounded by na­ture’s out­door class­room such as forests, fields, agri­cul­ture and beaches used read­ily by teach­ers and pupils for a myr­iad of top­ics within the school cur­ricu­lum.

“Also ben­e­fit­ing in our lo­cale the RSPB Merse­head bird re­serve, John Paul Jones mu­seum and South­wick church which are great sources of in­for­ma­tion for young en­quir­ing minds.”

The pe­ti­tion will be handed to the coun­cil’s chil­dren, young peo­ple and life­long learn­ing com­mit­tee as part of the con­sul­ta­tion process.

Mrs McIntosh, who has a daugh­ter in P7, added: “It’s been quite im­pres­sive so far. We’ve had the sup­port of a past head teacher and many pupils all around the world.”

Robert Bodell, who worked at the school for 24 years, posted a mes­sage on­line after sign­ing the pe­ti­tion.

He said: “It was a priv­i­lege to serve Kirk­bean Pri­mary as its head teacher from 1982 un­til 2006 when I re­tired from my post.

“Con­se­quently I have fond mem­o­ries etched in my heart when I think of staff, par­ents, pupils and friends of the school. I there­fore know first hand what this school means to a sup­port­ive community.

“Its catch­ment area is a fer­tile base for life long learn­ing and as such should be re­tained for the ben­e­fit of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Another for­mer teacher Linda Wain­wright said on Face­book: “This is dreadful news. I taught at this school for 16 years and it was a ter­rific school which al­ways had tremen­dous back­ing from the par­ents and community.

“It should be saved from clo­sure at all costs!”

One lo­cal dad signed the pe­ti­tion in the hope that his child will be able to at­tend Kirk­bean Pri­mary in the fu­ture.

After sign­ing the pe­ti­tion posted on www.change.org, Ni­cholas Hunt said: “This is the school I want my three-year-old daugh­ter to go to ... it is the school I went to and it is a dis­grace to con­sider clos­ing it.”

The first of­fi­cial con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings were sched­uled to take place yes­ter­day af­ter­noon and last night at Kirk­bean and New Abbey schools re­spec­tively.

The process runs un­til Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 3, with a fi­nal de­ci­sion ex­pected be­fore the turn of the year.

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