Parents fighting to save Tanshall Primary School in Glenrothes from closure still intend to take their fight to the Scottish Parliament, despite a final nail being hammered in the school’s coffin by Fife Council.
A decision made a fortnight ago to close five Fife primary schools and launch a new consultation to close another will stand, members of Fife Council’s education, social and communities scrutiny committee have agreed.
The endorsement of the decision made by Fife Council’s executive committee means that it is the intention of Fife Council to close Crombie, Dunino, Tanshall, Wellwood and Rathillet primaries in August this year, as planned.
The council will now continue with its intention to launch a new consultation to close Crombie Primary in October.
The decisions to close Crombie, Dunino, Tanshall and Wellwood, as part of a school estates review, had been “called in” to Tuesday’s committee for scrutiny.
But the committee, its actions based on legal advice from council officers, has concluded that all due process has been followed and the original decisions stand.
Euan Howells, one of the parents leading the campaign, told The Courier: “We are not giving up. The scrutiny committee decision went pretty much as we expected. We knew that would be the case unless a miracle happened between February 11 and now.
“What it shows is that the whole process is very political. We knew in advance the vote would be four votes to 10 today. The four SNP members against closure, the 10 Labour and independents in favour.
“That’s Fife Council made their decision now but we have three weeks to make representations to the Scottish Parliament. Since February 11, we have been preparing our response. The bulk of it is done. We’ve got to tighten it up, finalise it and send it to our local MSPs. The parliament can then decide whether to call it in.”
Mr Howells said that the focus of campaigners’ objections was still centred on educational benefits.
He said it was their view Fife Council had still not proven that children from one of the most deprived parts of Glenrothes would have a better educational experience in larger classes at other schools. He said the pupils would benefit from staying at Tanshall.
Susan Leslie, chairwoman of the education, social and communities scrutiny committee, said: “The four decisions taken today mean that all of the decisions about the school estate strategy taken by the executive committee will now be implemented without delay. The schools in question will now be moving towards closure.
“I know that everyone who has campaigned for and spoke for the individual schools will be disappointed. These decisions are never easy but as councillors we are here to make difficult decisions and often these are not popular.
“I am personally disappointed that criticisms have been made of the performance of the scrutiny committee today, rather than promoting one of the cases for the call-in.
“These proposals have been discussed, debated and scrutinised as no proposals have ever been before.
“I am exceptionally proud of the work the scrutiny committee has done and of all the individual committee members.
“Following these decisions, there is a role for all councillors to proceed with these school closures with the best interests of families and pupils in mind.
“There must be a willingness to work to rebuild relationships and this is a responsibility that falls on all of us.”