Dunearn parents may consider legal action

PARENTS of pupils at Dunearn Primary are continuing to fight against proposals to close the school, claiming legal action may be launched against Fife Council.

This week parents wrote to three of the Council’s top bosses in a letter which outlined the current consultation process as “fundamentally flawed”.

The parent council listed numerous failings in the consultation process, saying “opinions being sought from the public are no more than window dressing to justify a pre-planned desired outcome.”

Fiona Johnston, chairman of the parent council, warned if the consultation outcome proves unfavourable, they will be placing their faith in a possible legal challenge under Section 15 of the Schools (consultation)(Scotland) Act 2010.

In October, the parent council formally opposed the consultation process on the future of Dunearn, claiming public meetings were left for parents to demand, the local community was not issued with the consultation document and no opportunity to submit written responses was available. They still stand by the opinion that the catalyst for closure is financial.

Mrs Johnston said: “We appreciate that the Council has taken additional steps to address the concerns raised in October, however, we are of the view that appears to be more of a box ticking exercise rather than addressing the underlying concerns we raised.

Narrow

“One of the key areas of contention is the general feeling that the education service is focusing its efforts on the closure of this particular school, which seems very narrow in the context of the Kirkcaldy area requirements in particular, and the Fife wide requirements in general.”

The deadline for consultation was moved from November 23 until last week, to allow more time for feedback.

However, the options included were still only to maintain the status quo, but monitor the school every three months for closure, or immediate closure.

Education bosses moved to defend the consultation again this week, denying it is in any way flawed.

Alister Hendrie, education area officer, said: “We do not accept that this has been a flawed process. We have provided information as we saw fit and we have extended the consultation period which allows well above the 30 days consultation required.”

The consultation closed on Friday, and after responses are examined will be sent to HMIe for consideration.