I knew they’d back closing Tanshall school

Tanshall protesters
Tanshall protesters

Lingering hopes of saving Tanshall Primary all but disappeared when councillors on the scrutiny committee agreed the decision to close the school was the right one.

But Glenrothes councillor Peter Grant, leader of the Council’s SNP group, has slammed the committee for failing to live up to its name – and says the only significant savings from the move will come from children being taught in larger classes.

He confirmed an appeal against the closure would be submitted to Scottish Government ministers, but if that fails, the school will close this summer and pupils will move to either Southwood or Caskieberran primaries.

The decision to close the school was made by the Council’s executive committee. Cllr Grant asked for that decision to be ‘called-in’ by the scrutiny committee but said he knew it was a “foregone conclusion” before he even entered last week’s meeting.

Cllr Grant said: “Just calling it a scrutiny committee doesn’t make it a scrutiny committee. If you go in having already made up your mind and scared to ask awkward questions of officers, then you are not scrutinising.

“It was so bad, I had the exact result of the vote written down in my notebook before it even started.”

He said concerns about road safety, class sizes, the lack of any educational benefits and the future of the community organisation CHAT (Community Help at Tanshall) were not properly examined by the scrutiny committee.

“I think to see the community of Tanshall facing potential dessimation, simply because of party politics, is a sad, sad day for Fife Council,” he said. “It’s clearly a sad day for Tanshall. Right now I don’t think you would find anyone in Tanshall who trusts Fife Council to do anything.

“Fife Council has created that complete lack of trust and I think it will be years rather than months before that trust can be re-established.”

Euan Howells, who led the community campaign to save Tanshall Primary, said he didn’t expect the scrutiny committee to go against the decision of the executive.

“I’m bitterly disappointed, angry, sad and upset,” said Euan, who is also chairman of CHAT.

“Those councillors are ripping the heart out of Tanshall and destroying everything we’ve worked so hard to build up.”

Cllr Grant said savings would come from manipulating the boundaries of the catchment areas so 100 children will no longer benefit from smaller class sizes.

He added: “If it is correct to withdraw additional support from 100 children at Tanshall, it must also be correct to withdraw that support from every other child in a deprived area in Fife.

“When you present it like that, it is quite clearly a ludicrous and morally unacceptable way to be saving money.”