Parents fighting to save Tanshall school from closure have been given a boost in the bid to have Fife Council’s decision ‘called in’ for ministerial consideration.
Annabelle Ewing, Scottish National Party MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife has taken up the campaigners’ cause and has written to Michael Russell, cabinet secretary for education calling for their plight to be taken into consideration.
Ms Ewing claims the consultation process carried out by Fife Council to be “severely flawed” and has criticised the local authority’s decision to go ahead and close the primary school despite huge local objections.
The MSP told the Gazette: “It is utterly incredible that parents and others in community had to make 13 freedom of information requests to get information that should have been available to them in the first place if the process were open and transparent as it is required to be.
“On top of these failures of process, Fife Council’s Labour administration have entirely failed to make clear what they believe would be the educational benefit of this proposed school closure and they are keeping suspiciously quiet about just exactly what they plan to do with the school building and land if they are able to push ahead with their closure?”
The MSP said that having spoken with parents fighting the Tanshall school closure she was now fully behind their cause.
“For these reasons, I entirely support the decision by parents and the local community to request that the decision be ‘called in’ by the Scottish Government for Ministerial consideration.
“I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Education giving my backing to that call and I hope that Fife Council will change tack on their ill-advised and unwanted programme of schools closures,” she added.
Fife Council’s executive committee voted last month to go ahead with plans to close Tanshall Primary along with four other schools in the region as part of a Fife-wide review of the school estate.
The move has angered parents who have fought a committed campaign for the last 12 months.
Euan Howells, a parent with two children at the school and who is heading the fight to save the school has welcomed the new that the MSP is supporting their fight.
He said: “We’ve exhausted all avenues with Fife Council it seems. but we won’t be giving up yet.
“The MSP’s support is a welcome boost and further highlights the shambolic nature in which Fife Council have conducted the consultation process.”
He added: “After the decision by Fife Council to close our local school, we and the representatives of the community of West Glenrothes would request this matter be addressed by the Scottish Parliament and for it to be “Called-In” under the grounds that Fife Council have failed to show the Educational benefits of closing this school.”
The families are now waiting to see if their call-in move has been successful.