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Parents furious at council school site choice

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By Euan Maxwell
Dumfries and West
Parents furious at council school site choice

ANGRY parents of Loreburn Primary School pupils have slammed the decision to re-locate them to the Minerva Building.

Dumfries and Galloway Council chiefs had to come up with three different options for the school – after being forced back to the drawing board last year.

They this week presented councillors with three options for the primary which included a co-location with Dumfries Academy at a provisional cost of £6.2m; co-location with Lincluden Primary (£5.5m); or new build at former Langlands site in Dumfries (£9.9m).

A report by officials stated: “Based on the results of the option appraisal, co-location with Dumfries Academy at the Minerva Building represents the optimum cost per benefit point and is therefore the recommended option.”

The report also stated that in a consultation parents and staff were found to be in support of the move to Minerva.

And it noted that going down a different route, could delay the long-awaited school move by another year.

But before councillors entered the council headquarters yesterday, a number of parents were protesting outside as they believed the best option for the children and for future pupils would be for a new build at the Langlands site.

And during the discussion, primary teacher rep Julie Irvin, stated that Loreburn Primary teachers would also prefer the Langlands option too, before a letter from the Parent Council was discussed.

However, councillors ultimately voted to re-locate the school to the Minerva building.

Afterwards, interim chair of the parent council, Heather Knaggs said she was “disgusted”.

She said: “The parent body of Loreburn Primary School are disappointed but not surprised at the outcome of the education committee vote today, but more than that we are disgusted at the undemocratic manner in which this has been undertaken.

“Council officers are pushing forward a plan based on an old consultation from a significantly different previous plan for locating Loreburn in the Minerva building.

“Their report, and the minimal discussion of it today, heavily relied on a scoring system which included a stakeholder engagement score for all proposals.

“We would like to make clear that there has been zero stakeholder engagement from the council, our attempts to engage and be included in the discussion have also been largely ignored.

“They issued the proposals only seven days in advance to minimise the opportunity for scrutiny.

“Educational professionals talk about Getting IT Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) and today councillors did not get it right for the children nor staff of Loreburn Primary School.

“As their parent council we will continue to hold the council to account on every decision moving forward.”

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