Angus Council’s SNP group leader Lynne Devine has hit out over the dangling of a Birkhill secondary school carrot in an education shake-up
Lynne Devine said it was “really strange” the Birkhill option was brought into the public domain but will not be subject to consultation.
She described it as a “bit of ineptitude which we’re getting used to in this administration”.
The SNP’s amendment to consult on the Birkhill option was defeated during a special meeting of Angus Council on the future of education in the Monifieth cluster.
The school would need to be shared with both Dundee City Council and Perth and Kinross Council but councillors were told discussions have been exhausted with neighbouring authorities “who don’t seem to want to come to the party”.
Councillor Devine said: “Why put an option in the report which they had no intention of consulting on?
“Keeping this on the table would have given people in other council areas the chance to raise the possibility with their respective councillors and councils.”
The creation of a new school in Birkhill to incorporate the primaries of Auchterhouse, Liff, Strathmartine and the village primary was “not considered viable at this stage”.
Around 300 children currently spend seven-and-a-half hours a week travelling back and forth from the Birkhill area to Monifieth High School.
The SNP group has warned that the numbers of children “increase dramatically” when primary schools within a radius of approximately seven miles from Birkhill are also considered.
Arbroath West and Letham SNP councillor Alex King said: “It should definitely be considered and we have to keep on talking with neighbouring authorities.
“It’s short-sighted to take it out of the 30-year plan.”
Mr King said the situation was “forced upon Angus” following local government reorganisation in 1996.
Angus inherited Monifieth, Wellbank, Kellas, Tealing, Birkhill, Muirhead and Liff following the shake-up by John Major’s former Conservative government.
Monifieth and Sidlaw SNP councillor Sheila Hands said taking the Birkhill option off the table was an “opportunity lost” because the majority of parents in communities on the outskirts of Dundee would welcome it.
The blueprint for future education in Monifieth will go out to public consultation – without the Birkhill secondary option and the “do nothing” option.
The options the authority will consult include a review of the existing catchment area and replacing Monifieth High and Grange Primary with an “all-through” school.