Robslee to close

Robslee primary will be closed by the end of the 2013-2014 school term — if councillors vote to implement the report’s recommendations.

If the closure goes ahead, either OLM or Calderwood Lodge could relocate to the vacant building.

Following a consultation, a proposal to merge Giffnock and Robslee primaries in a phased transition during the next three years will be put to a council vote on May 12.

Primary one, two and three pupils would be the first to move from the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.

During the next school year (2013-14), primary five, six and seven pupils would follow suit.

From August, for the next three years, both schools will share a headteacher, who will “manage the transition”.

The council envisage that this will negate the need for temporary huts, which were part of the original proposal to transfer the students from the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

The local authority also believes that the phased transfer will limit traffic concerns, which, after the original consultation led to protesting parents holding a cattle drive to illustrate the predicted “chaos” on the roads.

Feedback from the consultation was largely negative.

Of the Giffnock pupils who voiced their opinion, 78.9% disagreed with immediate closure, as did 99.1% of Robslee pupils.

The remaining responses were split into statutory (parent/carer, staff, group, elected members) and non-statutory (other interested parties).

Of that, 95% of the statutory responses disagreed, as did 90% of the non-statutory responses.

Admitting that there weren’t any easy answers, ERC’s director of education, John Wilson, told The Extra: “If people were happy about news that we were proposing to close a school, that would not be a good thing either”

Mr Wilson revealed that the option to close Braidbar primary instead was not viable as the school is “geographically isolated”.

He also claimed that Robslee could not accommodate either Giffnock or Thornliebank primaries — so the closure of the Woodfarm facility was the only option.

Mr Wilson added: “This is about managing pupil places in difficult financial climate and we hope phasing is acceptable. However, we know we cannot please everybody”.

Provost Alex Mackie is set to defy his fellow administration councillors and abstain from voting on the closure and he has urged other Giffnock/Thornliebank councillors to join him.

The Liberal Democrat added: “For many years now it has been apparent to all interested in the provision of education that radical change needs to be made to primary schools in Giffnock and Thornliebank.

“Problems, including the chronic overcrowding at the top-performing Our Lady of the Missions primary school the health and safety issues at Thornliebank primary and traffic congestion at Giffnock primary, have been allowed to simmer and worsen over many decades.

“Closing Robslee primary is not a sensible option until alternative plans have been put into place.”

You can see the full consultation report online at www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/education-and-learning/schools/consultation.htm.

Turn to page four.