Further school closures in pipeline?

THE merger of Pinwherry and Colmonell primary schools could lead to more school closures in Carrick and other schools in the area joining together.

Schools with a projected roll of less than 50 could be under threat from council cost-cutting measures.

South Ayrshire Council’s head of service and school management Brian McInroy confirmed to a meeting of the council’s community services scrutiny panel last week that he would consider closing smaller schools in the area as he’s concerned that smaller classes won’t benefit from the curriculum for excellence.

This would put the future of many small Carrick primary schools at risk.

At the meeting, which concerned the closure of St Ann’s primary school at Mossblown in Ayr, councillor John Allan responded to McInroy’s comments by asking: “How does that suit with our smaller schools in South Ayrshire?”

Mr McInroy’s responded: “That is something we are going to have to look at more closely.”

Councillor Ann Galbraith said: “Now alarm bells are ringing in my head. There is a great value in village education. My view with a wider feel of village schools is we should fight to keep St Ann’s.

Councillor Helen Moonie said that she was worried that some schools were being “picked on”.

The schools which currently have a roll of 50 pupils or less within the South Ayrshire Council area include primary schools in Barr, Barrhill, Ballantrae, Colmonell, Pinwherry, Kirkmichael, Minishant and Straiton.

The fight to stop the closure of St Ann’s could have a bearing on the future of the small schools in Carrick as a group of councillors is set to challenge the decision made by council officials.

The decision to close St Ann’s was made two weeks ago at a meeting of the council’s Leadership Panel and was “called in” for scrutiny by a number of councillors. At least five councillors from the ruling SNP/Conservative administration on the council have already spoken publicly against the closure of the school with councillor Galbraith voting against the move at the scrutiny panel hearing.