Parents fighting to save Tanshall Primary School from closure are to take their fight to the Scottish Parliament.
The move comes in the wake of last week’s executive committee decision to accept proposals to close a total of five schools across the region as part of a review into the school estate.
Campaigners, community activists and members of the parent council met on Monday to discuss the possibility of taking their fight to Holyrood and are not ruling out the possibility of a ‘call-in’ as they take the closure issue to Mike Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education.
The fate of the school is still, technically, in the balance because last week’s executive committee decision has still to go one final time before Fife Council’s scrutiny committee.
Campaigners widely expect it to be fully approved and are already looking to take their fight elsewhere.
They have three weeks from the date of the closure being ratified, and have already met with Glenrothes MSP Tricia Marwick with a view to taking the matter to the Scottish education minister’s door.
“It was a devastating blow to everyone in Tanshall who has fought to save this school when we heard the decision had been made to close it,” said Euan Howells, one of the parents leading the campaign.
“But we’ve already picked ourselves up and are ready to take this further if necessary.
“We are also now in the process of producing our own report into the consultation process and to the argument over whether the school should close - we feel we have a strong case,” he added.
Campaigners have been highly critical of the lack of involvement by some councillors in the closure debate.
“It’s not acceptable to have four councillors represent this ward, yet only three ever entered the debate into the rights and wrongs concerning the closure of the school,” Euan told the Gazette.
“This issue has been out in the public for ten months, yet councillor Betty Campbell has not once spoken publicly about the issue.
“Many are disappointed that she even cancelled her planned surgery due to take place at the school last month without explanation.
Tough decision for councillors
By Kevin McRoberts
Opposition councillors argued the case to save Tanshall Primary during last Tuesday’s special meeting – but it wasn’t enough to stop the executive committee voting in favour of closure.
SNP group leader and Glenrothes councillor Peter Grant said savings from the closure would come from pupils being taught in larger classes, and no consideration had been given to the wishes of the community.
“Parents, teachers, staff, pupils and carers are 100 per cent against the closure,” he said.
“The Labour administration has failed to listen to the people who know Tanshall. They are tearing the heart out of the community.”
SNP colleague Councillor Brian Goodall praised those who had campaigned to save Tanshall, and said they had been an inspiration to other groups in Fife.
Glenrothes Labour councillor Kay Morrison voted in favour of the closure after being reassured on road safety issues relating to children walking to school.
She said the pupils would continue to benefit from the good practice and expertise of the teachers at the other schools.
Cllr Morrison added: “I know this is traumatic, so this decision has to be taken for the right reasons – to provide high quality education and to prepare our young people for the future.”
Kirkcaldy Labour councillor Neil Crooks, while voting in favour of closure, said no-one came into local government to close schools, and it was the hardest decision any councillor had to make.
And Councillor Bryan Poole, the Council’s education spokesman, denied accusations that the views of the Tanshall community had been ignored.
He insisted: “There is a difference between ignoring and not agreeing.”