A Tayside primary school has been spared the axe following a decision from an independent panel.
The School Closure Review Panel announced yesterday that it had overturned Perth and Kinross Council’s proposal to mothball Abernyte Primary School, in a victory for parents.
Their report found that the council had failed to comply with the requirements needed to close the school, which has just six pupils.
The panel raised doubts that the council had done enough to address the falling school roll, also questioned the accuracy of its financial situation, and the impact the closure would have on the community.
Gerard McGoldrick, from Abernyte Primary School Parent Council, said: “This is fantastic news.
“We can now move forward and look at ways of increasing the school roll.
“Plenty of people wanted to put their children to Abernyte Primary School but who is going to send their children to a school that is threatened with closure?”
The report stated: “The panel considers that each of the three failures is significant on its own. Taken together, in the panel’s view there has been a comprehensive failure of process. The panel has considered carefully whether the Council properly addressed the considerations it must address and has concluded that it has not. ”
Last year, Perth and Kinross Council’s lifelong learning committee agreed to permanently close Abernyte Primary School.
However, that decision was then called in by Scottish Government ministers, who wanted to review the council’s decision and cited concerns over how the closure process was handled.
A petition was sent to the Court of Session by Perth and Kinross Council to suspend the call-in process.
Local councillor Alasdair Bailey said: “I’m really pleased for the staff, pupils, parents and wider community that Abernyte School has been saved from closure.
“Perth and Kinross Council must now abandon their over-zealous plan to eradicate all small rural schools and work constructively with the community to attract more kids to restore Abernyte as the vibrant and bustling rural school that it was before the threat of closure started to loom over it.”
He added: “That has to include revisiting the question of the school’s catchment area. Inchture Primary School is so full this new term that we can’t offer the planned enhanced nursery places without the additional building which is under construction.
“I can see no better way to alleviate that pressure than to give families north of the A90 the option to attend Abernyte primary.”
A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council said: “We note the decision of the School Closure Review Panel in respect to Abernyte Primary School.
“We acknowledge the comments made by the panel and will give these full consideration. It is important that we provide clarity for the community at this stage in relation to what will happen next; and we can confirm that we will not be appealing the decision of the panel.”