3 February 2009: Large angry meetings have been held across Glasgow in protest at the Council’s plans to close 13 primary and 12 nursery schools to save £3.7m the same sum as they plan to give to local property developers “affected by the recession”.
Last Monday in Ruchill 200 parents, pupils and teachers from two local schools under threat heard Patricia Ferguson Labour MSP; Bob Doris SNP MSP;,Billy McAllister SNP Councillor all condemn the closures. No Labour councillors were present. Bob Doris pointed out that the main savings would come from employing less teachers and staff with £100,000 less in staff costs. He also pointed to the increased class sizes which would result from closing the schools.
The chair of the meeting local parent, Ann Walker, said that by shutting the schools the they are ‘tearing the community apart. We will fight on and try and win this battle. The council is putting out its Children’s Charter but it’s not talking about the children’s rights’.
Jackie, whose child attends the Autism Unit within Ruchill primary spoke of how they had spent seven years building a mainstream relationship in the school. She said the success of this was ‘a real credit to the Ruchill children’ and they wanted to ‘save the unit and save the Primary School within the community’. The children within this unit would be particularly affected by the disruption caused by shutting down their school.
The distance to these schools would mean the young people having to get buses. Brogan Walker, aged 13, told of the children’s concern at this, ‘ They’ve never really been on buses to go to school. They usually walk.’
There is real anger across Glasgow at these closures. Parents from Wynford and St Gregory’s Primaries – also facing closure - were cheered as they spoke at the meeting and invited parents from Ruchill to come to their public meeting the next night. This shows the possibility of joining local campaigns into a powerful citywide campaign with the potential to put a stop to the council’s plans.
The next night at the Wyndford meeting more than 150 turned out to hear teachers, parents and the same politicians denounce the closures and the timetable for consultation. However the biggest cheer of the night was for Allison, a parent, when she said, “If it was a bank at the bottom of Wyndford instead of two primary schools they’d be throwing money at it!”
On Thursday there was another large lobby of the full council meeting and future activities are planned to bring the local campaigns together to put further pressure on the council.