Comment posted Argyll Rural Schools Network puts all candidates to the test on rural schools by Ewan Smith.
Drumbrae Primary School. Very sad what happened to that community. It closed just a few months before the Schools Consultation Act came into force after a very vocal campaign by locals. I used to live just down the road from it in Edinburgh and when I visited the site last year I was shocked at how derelict it looked.
A community that had a strong connection because of the school devastated by the demolition squad.
Thanks for the good luck wishes!
Ewan Smith also commented
- I’m not interested in trying to impress anyone on here as sadly none of you can vote for me 😉
I am 100 per cent behind that statement though. Communities need rural schools just as schools need communities. I’ve seen the after effects of a community school being demolished (in Edinburgh) and the effect on the local area was devastating.
God willing, our own battle to save Muirfield will end on May 3rd. I then hope Arbroath can move forward and also hope that Argyll doesnt have to suffer the same agony of school closure proposals as now.
Good luck A&B and please choose your votes wisely. 😉
Recent comments by Ewan Smith
- Rural school closures and the COSLA challenge to the Education Secretary
I’m now a councillor and I can whole-heartedly say COSLA don’t speak for me on this issue. I’m from the presumption against closure camp as I see just how rural schools (and many urban ones) are the lifeblood of a close-knit community. Similarly I’ve had the misfortune to see the devastating impact on communities when schools are needlessly closed – I’m thinking of Drumbrae in Edinburgh. Tumbleweed runs through a community once united by a school.
- Schools campaigner, Councillor Ewan Smith quits Angus Council SNP group and administration to go independent
Thank you for all your considered comments. This was not at all an easy decision but I am absolutely secure in my mind that my actions yesterday underline that I won’t go against the promises I made to people when standing on their doorsteps in May.
I have changed my position and the umbrella I’m standing under but the one thing I haven’t changed is my mind. Had others not apparently changed their stance then this whole situation could have been avoided.
People still have the same guy fighting their corner that they elected and, whilst I am fully mindful of the fact some may have elected me on the basis of the party I stood for, I will work extremely hard to show them they can trust me to do right for the community.
- 2010 Schools Act: Hillhead School, Scottish Ministers’ Wick Determination and the cost of justice
I agree with Sandy entirely (not a lot new there). There is no way that the right of appeal should only be open to the rich (or Councils).
One of our parents made this very point as many on Angus Council ignored public opinion (again) to forge on with costly plans for Judicial Review. Would our Council have been fair-minded enough to offer to pay the legal costs for a parent-led challenge had the Scottish Government given the new school in Arbroath the green light? I think not.
This should, not, however lead to complacency. Councils would do well to remember that parents come from all walks of life, all professions and have a wide-cross section of skills. Above all, they believe in what they are fighting against which is more than can be said for those who propose the school closures.
Turning to Wick, specifically. It appears clear to me that Hillhead has been proposed for closure purely and simply due to geographical reasons. Had that school been ten miles further away no sane Council would even consider a closure proposal. I don’t think it’s fair to deny other needy schools the opportunity of a new facility, but at the same time I fail to see how this should mean that all schools in the area should be closed.
Surely a little bit of investment would bring a B/B school operating at 81 per cent capacity up to A/A? A smaller primary school could then be built instead of a merged one and without being a building expert I would hazard a qualified guess that the cost of refurb of one satisfactory building+smaller new build (which would in theory have much more outdoor space) would not outweight one merged new build?
Unless of course they want the land at Hillhead to build houses on…
- No remission of anger at meeting with Rural Education Commission
It sounds like you were given proper opportunity to air grievances and put forward suggestions for the future. We have our meeting in Angus on March 26th. Will it be a similar format?
- 81%-full Hillhead school closed on an educational benefit statement copied from Arbroath? Who needs a law?
I just can’t get my head around how this school has been allowed to close. I really can’t.
Let’s leave aside the cut and paste and the dubiety over how many classrooms the new school was proposed to have, a well-run, optimum capacity school with decent condition and suitability ratings has been allowed to close. Now the parents will find out how the travel arrangements to the new school will be organised AFTER being given the green light. Is it really fair to get through all the hurdles for a new build, start laying the bricks and then say ‘Oh yeh, this is how we will make the road safe for the kids’. What is the point of consultation if the school plan can be made up AFTER the proposal has been put through?
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