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28 March 2014

MP & MSP Meet With School Campaigners

Stewart Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, and Angus Robertson, MP for Moray, have met with concerned parents and community representatives with regards to Moray Council’s School Estate Review.

The parliamentarians heard about worries in relation to the proposals for Portknockie, Findochty, Portessie and Cullen Primary Schools.
Moray Council has commissioned Caledonian Economics to undertake a school estate review and parents have fears with regards to a proposal put forward that could see the four schools merging.

The meeting allowed parents the opportunity to express their views and hear from the parliamentarians how best to take their concerns forward.

Mr Stevenson commented:

“The four communities clearly have got a very committed group of parents who are not only concerned as to the impact on their children but also the impact on the communities where they live. Clearly, if these schools are removed it would make these communities less attractive places in which to live and potentially impact on facilities, such as shops and transport.

“People are very alert to the wider implications of Moray Council’s proposals and are also very clear that small schools are where the best education is provided, particularly for those children with additional needs.

“The schools in Portessie, Findochty, Portknockie and Cullen all have good reputations in this regard.”

Angus Robertson MP said:

“Stewart Stevenson and I are impressed by the commitment to the best education standards currently offered by each of these schools to their local communities.

“We have yet to see the educational advantages which are supposedly at the heart of the alternative plans.

“In recent years, too many decisions in Elgin have been detrimental to coastal communities.

“This issue is going to run for months and I would encourage local parents and residents to make their voices heard.”

Mike Coull, Portessie Parent Council Chair remarked:

“It was quite a helpful and open meeting and both Mr Stevenson and Mr Robertson were able to give us lots of insights, especially in how to make it more difficult to make decisions on merger and closure.

“We now have many options to look at and have also identified more things which are missing from the consultants’ report. It looks like it could actually cost more to the taxpayer in the long run to close or merge these schools than to run them.

“The Parent Council representatives at the meeting thought that it was a very worthwhile session and that they have a lot to take away from it.”
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