Angus Council has been challenged to safeguard the long-term future of Stracathro Primary following its surprise rejection of a proposal to axe the rural school.
The council revealed last week that it was tearing up the closure bid after “listening to the community’s concerns.”
Plans to end a consultation on Stracathro’s future will be discussed at Thursday’s meeting of Angus Council but Angus North and Mearns SNP MSP Mairi Gougeon believes councillors should go further and spell out the long-term plans for the school.
Under the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 any flawed consultation proposals rejected by the Scottish Government are protected from closure for five years.
the Stracathro proposal didn’t reach Holyrood but Mrs Gougeon is urging the authority to make a similar commitment.
She said: “There was absolutely no premise for the closure proposal. It didn’t make educational or financial sense.
“Stracathro received a glowing report from Education Scotland the last time it was inspected.
“The numbers didn’t add up either. It was going to cost Angus Council money on an annual basis to close Stracathro due to a loss of Grant Aided Expenditure funding from the Scottish Government.
“All of these things were highlighted by the campaigners who can be very proud of their campaign to retain what is an excellent school.
“It’s now over to Angus Council to provide certainty to the parents that they won’t return in the next couple of years with a fresh proposal to close Stracathro,”
The Stracathro decsion has been hailed a “massive success” for local parents.
Angus MP Kirstene Hair said locals led a “vibrant, constructive campaign” and praised the “sensitivity” of council officials and elected members.
She said:”I am pleased to see Angus Council has listened to the parents during the consultation and responded to their concerns.
“There’s no doubt there is a balance to strike between finances and the wellbeing of rural communities and I am delighted the council have made what I believe to be the right choice.
“Undoubtedly this has been greatly informed by the vibrant, constructive campaign organised by concerned parents.”
She added: “Stracathro is an asset to our area and I am delighted it will remain an integral part of the school estate and wider community.”
An updated report on the consultation of the rural schools in the Brechin cluster will be heard at Thursday’s meeting.
The report recommends the consultation to close Stracathro Primary School should be stopped. Howvever, proposals affecting Lethnot, Tarfside and Edzell primaries will continue.