Commission takes educational benefit out of school closure debate

A national report on the future of rural schools has been given a mixed response by campaigners in Argyll and Bute.

The Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education’s report was published yesterday (Friday), making 38 recommendations – there had been a nationwide moratorium on school closures until it was released.

It was described as a balanced and constructive set of recommendations’ in a statement today by the Argyll Rural Schools Network (ARSN), which was set in 2010 to fight plans by Argyll and Bute Coucil to close 26 primaries.

ARSN have welcomed the focus on the impact school closures can have on children and communities, the call for strengthened guidance, provision of a five year protection for schools post closure consultation and the committee’s recognition that small schools are well equipped to deliver the Curriculum for Excellence.

But the statement adds: “We are, however, disappointed that the commission have taken a view to remove educational benefit from the legislation.

“We believe it is paramount that educational benefit is always the cornerstone of any decision on the delivery of education.

“We note that many of the recommendations for improvement are rooted in the flawed school closure proposals inflicted on our communities by Argyll and Bute Council. We will continue to monitor, and react to, the council’s position on school closures. “

The council’s school closure plans were abandoned after huge protests, but with the authority needing to make massive reductions in its spending there has been continued speculation about the future of its rural schools.

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