Campaigners set for a final march on Council to save schools

Schools plan protest march on Council HQ (David Robertson)

A procession will march from Elgin’s Cooper Park to the Moray Council HQ on Monday morning ahead of Councillor’s meeting to discuss the future of rural schools.

Campaigners against the closure of Milne’s High School and several rural primaries in the region will gather at 8.30am on Monday morning.

A meeting of the full council is due to take place at 9.30am at which the controversial consultancy report prepared by Caledonian Economics is expected to be considered.

Representatives from Crossroads Primary School aim to hand over a 2000-signature petition in support of retaining their school – and will be joined by others from the Keith and Speyside Associated School Group (ASG).

They have already met this week with Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, who has praised the SNP group at Moray Council for taking a stance on the issue with a motion being put by them to Monday’s meeting calling a halt to any discussion on closures of Milne’s High or any rural primary schools.

Mr Lochhead said that it was “vital” the Conservative and Independent administration lifted the “cloud of uncertainty” hanging over Moray’s schools.

One member of the ruling administration at Moray Council, Conservative councillor for Fochabers/Lhanbryde Douglas Ross, is expected to address protestors on the steps of the Moray Council HQ ahead of Monday’s meeting.

A spokeswoman for the Save Milne’s High Campaign – who held a protest rally last week at which almost 1000 people turned out to voice their concerns – said: “Supporters against school closures have been asked to assemble in Cooper Park on the grassy area between Grant Lodge and the Library by 8.50am.

“A procession led by a piper will then proceed over the footbridge and to the old Moray Council headquarters building.

“Councillors Sean Morton, Margo Howe and Douglas Ross will come to the steps of the HQ where Councillor Ross will make a short address and present our petition.”

Support for the SNP opposition motion has already been promised from Labour councillor Sean Morton and it is understood that several ruling administration councillors may support the move.

The motion calls that the council “Recognises that the educational case has not been made for the rural schools closure proposal in the Sustainable Education Review report by Caledonian Economics; Agrees to take no further action on school closures; Agrees to investigate further the proposals for Elgin and Forres town.”

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