Clacks cuts threaten two pri­mary schools

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

There has al­ready been an an­gry re­ac­tion to the pro­pos­als from par­ents and Labour has ac­cused the mi­nor­ity SNP ad­min­is­tra­tion of “sell­ing the fam­ily sil­ver “.

How­ever, the coun­cil’s SNP Group in­sist the pro­pos­als have been put for­ward by of­fi­cers and noth­ing has been de­cided.

The coun­cil has al­ready slashed around £43 mil­lion from its bud­get over the last eight years, and now es­ti­mates it needs to save around 20 per cent of cur­rent ex­pen­di­ture.

Of­fi­cials be­lieve there will be around £30 mil­lion less to spend over the next three fi­nan­cial years.

The clo­sure of the two schools would see the coun­cil claw back £164,000 in 2020/21 and a fur­ther £133,000 in 2021/22.

Fishcross Pri­mary cur­rently has a school roll of 84 pupils, with Coal­snaughton Pri­mary hav­ing 64. Ex­actly where pupils will be taught if the schools close has been not out­lined.

How­ever, there is spec­u­la­tion Coal­snaughton pupils will go to Til­li­coul­try Pri­mary while those at Fishcross will switch to Sauchie Pri­mary

A re­view of nurs­ery pro­vi­sion for Coal­snaughton is also un­der­way.

As a con­sul­ta­tion on the con­tro­ver­sial pro­pos­als be­gan, out­raged par­ents have vowed to fight to save the fa­cil­i­ties.

Fishcross Par­ents Group was ‘shocked and out­raged’ over the pro­pos­als, adding: “Our school has amaz­ing teach­ers that go out of their way to help and sup­port our chil­dren and fam­i­lies. Par­ents past and present will I’m sure share sto­ries of sup­port.

“Many par­ents have con­cerns that a clo­sure will re­sult in a move to a much larger school and over­crowded classes which re­sults in the teach­ers hav­ing less time to get to know our kids and less sup­port to all the chil­dren.

“We are a small school al­most at max­i­mum ca­pac­ity and we will do every­thing to keep our school open.”

A com­mu­nity meet­ing has been sched­uled by the Fishcross Par­ent Coun­cil to take place in the school hall at 7pm Wed­nes­day, Jan­uary 16.

Pro­pos­als have been made to cut the se­condary school week by two and a half hours, from 25 hours to 22.5 hours.

How­ever, coun­cil of­fi­cers have warned that a re­duc­tion in school hours will re­sult in pupils study­ing fewer sub­jects at SQA level and may also im­pact on pupil at­tain­ment.

Cut­ting the hours would save £387,000 in 2020/21 and a fur­ther £232,000 in 2021/22.

Clacks Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive, Nikki Bri­dle, said: “These pro­pos­als from coun­cil of­fi­cers are very chal­leng­ing and re­flect that it’s now very dif­fi­cult to find sav­ings which will not im­pact on in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties.

“Some pro­pos­als would re­sult in re­duc­tions in ser­vice from ex­ist­ing lev­els, or change the way in which ser­vices are de­liv­ered in or­der to re­duce costs, many of which in­volve work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with a range of part­ners. I would en­cour­age res­i­dents to read over these sav­ings op­tions and fill in the on­line sur­vey so that this can be shared with coun­cil­lors be­fore they agree a bud­get. Your views are a very im­por­tant part of the de­ci­sion mak­ing process.”

Res­i­dents can com­plete an on­line con­sul­ta­tion sur­vey on the pro­pos­als. The con­sul­ta­tion closes on Fe­bru­ary 1.

The sur­vey can be found at https:// bit.ly/2siebFn

Fac­ing axe Coal­snaughton Pri­mary

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