Warning that rural schools could be open to scrutiny

Rural Angus schools could be back "under the microscope" for closure after a rule to preserve them was "quietly shelved" by councillors, a North east MSP has claimed.
A strong local campaign saved Stracathro Primary in 2018.A strong local campaign saved Stracathro Primary in 2018.
A strong local campaign saved Stracathro Primary in 2018.

Angus councillors voted 15 to 9 against a moratorium forbidding rural school closures during a recent meeting of the full council.

North east region Scottish Conservative MSP Liam Kerr also said that although the "moral stance" could have been revisited after six months due to standing orders, it followed a four-year promise by the previous administration.

A vigorous local campaign to save Stracathro Primary School from the axe was successful in 2018, when council chiefs agreed to go further and protect other schools from closure.

The defeated motion to preserve the moratorium, based on a council options appraisal, was brought forward by Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim councillor Louise Nicol.

Mr Kerr said: "There will undoubtedly be tough years coming up for the council fiscally. But the last several years have seen multi-million-pound cuts handed down each year.

“So it is a really bad sign to see this rural schools pledge quietly shelved in this way. I think it puts Stracathro back under the microscope as well other rural schools in this council term. It was after significant campaigning in 2018 that the council agreed not to close these vital institutions. It was a moral stance which stood for four years. The SNP-run council can't complain about budget cuts when it's their own gove rnment making them.”