Moray parents may need to wait longer to learn fate of schools

Stewart Cree – schools ‘additional information and further engagement’

Campaign groups concerned over the closure of several schools in Moray may not learn their fate at the crunch meeting of Moray Council on November 3.

The Sustainable Education Review report produced by consultants on behalf of the local authority has recommended radical changes to the school estate in Moray, including the closure of Milne’s High School and several rural primary schools in the region.

Several campaign groups have sprung up as a result, with most insisting that they be heard when councillors gather to consider the report at a special meeting of the full council on Monday, November 3.

Campaigners had expected decisions on the future of schools to be made that day – however, they are now being warned that may not be the case.

Following a meeting of the council cross-party area based review committee this week the council’s convener, Stewart Cree, has indicated that additional information and further engagement would likely be required before any final decisions are taken.

Councillor Cree said: “The indications are that a number of people may wish to attend the proposed council meeting on November 3 at which elected members will discuss the final report.

“We have stressed from the outset that the entire process will be clear and transparent and we are only too happy to have campaigners in the public gallery to listen to the debate.

“Campaigners should be aware, however, that following on from the initial consideration of the consultants’ report by the area based review group, it is clear that additional information and further engagement will be needed before substantive decisions can be taken on individual schools.

“That is what the meeting on November 3 is likely to focus on.”

Campaigners acting on behalf of four primary schools – Portknockie, Portessie, Cullen and Findochty – have said that their own survey shows massive support against school closure and amalgamation plans.

Speaking on behalf of the Four School Action Group, Mike Coull said: “The survey I have conducted among the four schools shows that 96% of parents feel that they are not being listened to by councillors – and 93% say their children are being given an excellent education.”

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