Fife councillors have urged a rethink on a controversial proposal to close Pitcorthie Primary School in Dunfermline.
The decision followed an impassioned plea by campaigners, who addressed Fife Council’s education, social and communitiesscrutiny committee in Glenrothes on Tuesday.
Shirley Macdonald, who was among the speakers from the Save Pitcorthie Primary School committee, said parents felt betrayed by the council over the planned closure.
She told councillors: “If we were to have our school closed, and if another school was to be built in DEX (Dunfermline Eastern Expansion) or Carnegie Primary was to be extended, that would be a double betrayal.
“I don’t believe parents would believe anything Fife Council told them after that.”
The final decision on the closure will be made by the executive committee later this year.
Scrutiny committee chair Susan Leslie said she would be asking the executive committee for a “complete review and rethink” of the proposal.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the scrutiny committee made five key points. The first of these was that the case for closure did not meet the guiding principles of the council’s school estate review, except in the initial analysis of the condition of the building.
The school’s structural issues were said to be “not imminently significant”. However, councillors said further investigation should be undertaken to address structural issues in dispute.
It was noted that the long-term future of the building beyond three to five years would require a decision on potential strengthening and refurbishment work, which could be costly and disruptive to pupils.
And the committee said pressures on school places, and spare capacity, in Dunfermline south should be looked at more closely before any closure decision is made.
Andrew Hutchison from Save Pitcorthie said the case for closure was based on an old report by engineering specialists Arup, instead of a more recent study by the same firm, which he said found few significant structural defects.
“Basing the whole case for closure on an original erroneous report is just wrong. Arup admit that the report contained ‘human errors’ and the council cannot compound that initial error by closing the school,” he said.
Pitcorthie campaigner Kathryn Dixon, who highlighted the fact the school sits in an area of deprivation, added: “By giving serious consideration to a proposal to close Pitcorthie Primary School and fill the surrounding schools to capacity Fife Councillook to be going out of their way to fail some of the most vulnerable children in our society.”