Glasgow Save our Schools Campaign
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Super-school to be scaled back to 500 Earmarked schools still to close
Parents offered choice of Hillhead or nearest local school,It would be interesting to hear people’s assessment of the latest news on the schools front. I think I share the opinion of the parents who were quoted in the Times which portrayed the news as a “partial victory” for us.
Here’s what I think: Firstly, the positives: the scaling back somewhat of the mega-school is a significant achievement for the campaign. We have exposed and embarrassed them over this crazy plan. Local people have channelled their anger, passion and determination into positive public meetings, lobbies, marches etc brilliantly. In this respect it is a victory of sorts which should inspire us with confidence. They’ve wobbled. However, there is no question in my mind that the campaign must continue- with even greater vigour and urgency! The council’s tactics are utterly scandalous!
Why? Look at the big picture:
* the council’s plan to destroy 4 local community schools goes ahead!
* Most kids – if they get into the “alternative” local schools – will have to travel further to school, still alongside busy roads and parkland.
* How will local kids get into full schools like Hyndland? Will they then have to travel to Hillhead (no choice at all)? And what are the implications for class sizes?
* The council- and our councillors - have AMAZINGLY continued to maintain that class sizes of 33 are desirable for improvement of attainment and behaviour.
* Local buildings will still be sold off to luxury developments with more cars and fewer families in communities.
* So many questions still remain regarding the exact size, layout, roll and site of the new Hillhead school.
* In reality what we’ve been offered are pathetic crumbs from the council’s chopping board and they expect us to be satisfied.
* And what were our elected councillors doing? Were they raising howls of opposition to the monster-sized school and to rocketing class sizes when the community was in uproar? Not a squeak!
So what has happened?
I say the campaign should reject these crumbs of cold comfort and expose this scandal for what it is. At the start of the campaign, some of us thought, what are they up to with this super-sized school, it seems an utterly bizarre proposal, too bad to be taken seriously. Even at the consultation meetings, officials looked rather embarrassed and ill at ease when asked if they’d seen the plans and why they hadn’t even calculated the ration of rooms to kids to teachers!!! Architects advised us it was pie in the sky, the plans had never seen the light of day etc. In short it seemed bound to fail in the teeth of serious opposition.
It could be this super-school is a straw man, a lightning conductor, which would attract great opposition and then the council could bin the idea, come back with some “less bad proposals” and take the credit for “listening” – and their mission, to destroy 4 schools as part of their programme of cuts - is accomplished. This is not a conspiracy theory, it is what happens day in day out in politics: The press reports a leak that the chancellor is putting petrol up by 20p, then when he “only” puts it up by 15p a month later, you think, “Oh well, it’s not as bad as it coulda been!”
I think it would be a fatal mistake if we accepted this “concession” at face value. If they get away with this here and now, they’ll be back for more schools in the future. Throughout this process the council has been banking on “divide and rule”, hoping some parents will accept the closures because they feel their kid/school will benefit. And maybe now some parents are thinking, well it wont be so bad if we get into a good local primary. That’s maybe an understandable reaction at this point. But I would urge everyone in the campaign to stay strong and to ensure people around you know exactly what is going on here and that our demand continues to be: SAVE OUR SCHOOLS- for local, modern, accessible schools with lower class sizes!
Andy Harvey Partick
Saturday, January 28, 2006
POLITICIANS, parents and residents alike rallied together last weekend to protest against council plans for a fresh wave of West End school closures.
Polititians, parents and residents alike rallied together last weekend to protest against council plans for a fresh wave of West End school closures. Polititians, parents and residents alike rallied together last weekend to protest against council plans for a fresh wave of West End school closures.Save Our Schools campaigners gathered together on Saturday morning to march against council proposals to build a new Hillhead Primary on a gap site in Gibson Street.Over one hundred parents, children and residents joined forces for the family-oriented march, beginning their trek at the site of the proposed new school and ending at Dowanhill Primary for an afternoon of face painting and family fun. March organiser Anthea Irwin said: "We were very pleased with the amount of people who got involved and came along.
"It was important to have a vibrant, colourful march in which the children were involved, as they are the ones at the centre of these decisions." Several West End primaries have been earmarked for closure under Glasgow City Council's pre-12 Education Proposals, part of a reorganisation of education aiming to create 21st century schools. The proposals include plans to close 28 primary schools across the city, a measure aiming to target the problem of falling school rolls. Under Proposal J, the creation of Non Denominational Education in Hillhead, a new non denominational primary school with pre 5 facilities will replace Dowanhill, Hillhead, Kelvinhaugh and Willowbank Primary
West Enders end campaign to protest over school closures schools, along with Dowanhill and Willows nursery schools in 2008. However, critics have voiced a string of concerns including road safety in the area and the impact on class sizes. The new school may house up to 700 pupils and class sizes could rise to as much as 32. Heather Anderson, a former primary school teacher, has two children at Dowanhill primary. Ms. Anderson said: "I'm very angry. I feel that there is no need for this new school, and that the money should be spent on the existing schools. "I think private developers have a lot to do with this and the development will just bring more problems to the area."
Scottish Socialist Party MSP Rosie Kane, who was there to show her support, said: "People need to remember that schools are not just nine till five, they are centres of the community." A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: "We are in the middle of a consultation process and parents have a right to express their opinions."
Glasgow City Council Pre-12 Strategy, Phase 4
Glasgow City Council Pre-12 Strategy, Phase 4 affects nearly 70 schools throughout the city. Proposal J calls for the closure of 4 primary schools and 2 nursery schools in the west end.The affected schools and nurseries are: Dowanhill, Hillhead, Kelvinhaugh and Willowbank.
The council plan to close the schools and sell the sites for property development - to maximise flat numbers on the sites they will be developed as "car-free", in other words on-street-parking.
To replace the schools a Super Size Me school will be built on the gap site on the corner of Gibson and Otago streets.
The school will have on its roll 683 pupils by 2010 There will be a nursery for a further 80 children.
The site will be 3,700 sq m of building and 1,540 sq m of ground space. The cost to the council will be £9,789,760
The site will include the gap site, the council depot, the Kelvin Way entrance and the sports fields. The building will be 4 storeys high with potential for growth!
Entrance for Kelvinhaugh and Dowanhill pupils and vehicles will be by the Kelvin Way entrance. Pupils from Hillhead and Willowbank will enter by the M8 arterial road, Gibson Street.
For more information about the protest please contact:
Anthea Irwin on 07742 889 802
To register a protest, a point of order, an objection, your outrage or to suggest
alternatives you must put them in writing to
Executive Director (Education, Training and Young People)
Glasgow City Council,
25 Cochrane Street,
Cut off date for letters to be received is Friday 9th December 2005