Falkirk Council's plan to close 'mothballed' primary school refused
The Scottish Government has denied Falkirk permission to close down a so-called “mothballed” primary school.
The government appointed School Closure Review Panel has refused consent for the council’s plans to close Limerigg Primary School, in Lochside Road, Slamannan, which had been “mothballed” along with Bothkennar Primary School, in Skinflats, two years ago after the number of pupils attending fell to below ten.
Earlier this year the council’s education, children and young people executive heard the final decision to permanently close Limerigg was “sad but inevitable”.
However, on July 26 the decision by Falkirk Council to close the primary school was referred to the Iain Nisbet, convener of the School Closure Review Panel by the Scottish Ministers.
He then appointed a panel on August 2 to review the school closure decision.
After considering Falkirk Council had “failed in a significant regard to comply with the requirements of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 (“the Act”)” and i) and “failed to take proper account of a material consideration relevant to the decision”, the panel denied permission for the closure.
Beverley Atkinson, panel chairperson, stated: "Following a thorough review of the information contained in all of the documents received from Scottish Ministers, together with additional documentation provided by Falkirk Council in response to the requests made by the School Closure Review Panel, the Panel has concluded that Falkirk Council has not fulfilled its obligations under the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010."
The panel notified Falkirk Council of its decision yesterday.
A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “Both schools have been mothballed for more than two years and the small number of pupils who have previously attended these schools, have successfully integrated into alternative locations.
“We’ll have a look at the report and consider what steps can be taken next.”
During the consultation into closing Limerigg Primary parents with children at the school said they were happy with them becoming pupils at Slamannan Primary.
And a member of staff at Slamannan said Limerigg pupils had thrived since the move, stating the “increase in self-confidence among those pupils was a joy to see”.
The consultation also revealed worries around what the school building and grounds will be used for and what the closure would mean for the wider community.