School to be closed

pinwherry Primary school will close its doors for the last time at the end of June this year.

Councillors voted in favour of closing the school and hope to save just over £94,000 per year and avoid “significant” expenditure on the building in order to bring it up to modern standards.

At Tuesday’s Leadership Panel meeting of South Ayrshire Council, councillors backed the plans put forward by council officers and have now referred the decision to the Scottish Government which will give its decision within six weeks, although it is expected to ratify the council’s decision.

Closure of the school was first proposed in June 2009, and a draft proposal to close the school was approved as well as a request to the Executive Director of Children and Community to commence a consultation process.

After the summer break, the 14 pupils who were expected to attend in August will now go to the brand new Colmonell Primary school.

The move received the backing of the Educational Institute of Scotland which said in a response to the council: “The EIS accepts that school closures may occur, but believes that such closures should reflect educational principles and should not be based upon financial considerations.

“Educational provision at Pinwherry Primary has been acknowledged as being very good. However it is recognised that the present suitability of the accomodation and facilties available to pupils and staff are not conducive to best practice in terms of delivering the curriculum for excellence.

“In considering the options proposed in the consultation paper, the EIS South Ayrshire Association accepts the preferred option of the executive director of children and community, that is, to close Pinwherry Primary school and merge its delineated area with that of Colmonell Primary and to transfer the pupils from Pinwherry Primary to the newly built Colmonell Primary.”

A report by council officers stated: “The school roll at Pinwherry is currently 14 pupils and has continued to fall over the last 10 years. At some stages there is only one pupil and at others none at all.”

Council officers argue that the falling school roll is restricting the educational opportunities for all pupils at the school. Parents of pupils at Pinwherry school had fears about transport to Colmonell as they claimed they roads were busy enough with wind farm traffic.

One councillor told the Gazette after the meeting: “It’s sad to see Pinwherry close but in this current economic climate, unfortunately with so few pupils it makes no sense to keep it open.”