Councillors are being advised to kickstart the statutory consulation process which could lead to the closure of Ae Primary, as well as at Garlieston and Kirkbean, as soon as next year.
There are just ten pupils at Ae, which is in a cluster arrangement with Amisfield, and education officials have been looking at ways of boosting the roll – but say they’ve drawn a blank.
However, parents and villagers are putting up a fight and will hold their own meeting tonight (Thurs).
The school’s parent council today released a statement criticising the local authority’s handling of the situation so far. It says: “We feel that the appropriate school consultation has not taken place concerning the proposal to close Ae Primary School.
“The Parent Council feels that the discussion and engagement that has taken place has been insufficient.
“We the parent council feel that the consultation has been ill prepared and misleading in terms of the timescales and appropriate investigation into alternatives.”
Ae Community Council are backing them up and said: “The proposed closure will have a detrimental impact on the future sustainability of the village life.”
A report on the matter has been prepared by officials ahead of the council committee meeting in Dumfries. It says: “A review of the projected demographics has indicated no significant future demand for the school in Ae.
“The school have been proactive in promoting the school and engaging with the local community but this has not had a positive impact on the school roll.
“Officers would now suggest that it would be prudent to commence formal consultation with the users and local community on a proposal to close the school on a permanent basis due to the low numbers and that a facility of this size cannot deliver to the full social and emotional needs of the learner.”