Determined parents braved a torrential downpour on Saturday as they marched on Fife Council’s headquarters in a bid to save Tanshall Primary School.
The school, which the authorities say is currently running at just 56 per cent occupancy and has 141 spare places, is one of seven schools earmarked for closure as part of the Council’s bid to bridge an estimated £70m education funding deficit.
Around 60 parents, grandparents, children and members of the local community walked the two miles from the school grounds to Fife Council’s main offices in the town centre.
They were led by a piper – Reegan Smith (12) – who is a former Tanshall pupil.
Organisers of the march were hoping for as many as 200 protesters to join the march, including parents to be affected by similar closures throughout the region.
Campaign organiser Euan Howells, chairman of the community group CHAT who are based at the school praised those who braved the conditions.
“The fact that we got a core group of around 60 in this appaulling weather conditions just shows you the depth of feeling in the community regarding this proposal to close our school, and how they will continue to stand up and fight to save it,” said Mr Howells.
“This closure is ill thought out and lacks any credibility, and with the school having a vital role to play at the heart of this community, it will prove to be a major blow if the closure goes ahead.”
A month-long consultation process is due to end this Saturday, and more than 80 anxious parents grilled Fife Council and education officials last week at a public meeting, complaining the closure proposals were “misguided, misleading and biased”.
“Many aspects of the proposal just don’t add up,” said Mr Howells.
“If the closure goes ahead, nearly one million pounds is to be provided to up grade Caskieberran and Southwood schools which could easily spent on Tanshall.
“Tanshall has already had extensive modenisation and structural work carried out in the last five years, and to do away with that and then spend more money just doesn’t make any sense,” he added.
Campaigners have also questioned whether full consideration has been given to the increasing amount of young families moving into Tanshall, and for the 200 houses that are scheduled to be build following the demolition of several blocks of flats in the area.
“We are seeing more and more families coming to live in Tanshall, and with even more houses due to be built in the next three to five years, the amount of children needing a local school will only increase,” said Mr Howells.
“Even though those who have drawn up the proposals say consideration has been given to future housing plans in the precinct, I think they are seriously underestimating the real need for a school that complements and provides for the immediate community. If our school closes, then they are ripping the heart out of a close-knit community, and we cannot allow that.”
The consultation findings are to be reported to Fife Council’s executive committee early in the New Year, when they will make their final decision. Any such closure is expected to be implemented in August 2014.