THE children's author behind the international bestseller The Gruffalo has joined the campaign against the closure of her local primary school on the outskirts of Glasgow.

Julia Donaldson, Britain's children's laureate, said there would be a terrible impact if East Dunbartonshire Council closed Bearsden Primary School.

The popular children's writer, who sent two of her children to the school, spoke out after the council brought forward plans to merge Bearsden Primary with another school as part of a wider shake-up.

Last month, Mark Knopfler, former singer with the rock group Dire Straits, and Darius Campbell, a platinum-selling singer-songwriter and actor, also backed the campaign to save the school.

The author said: "I am concerned about the possible closure of Bearsden Primary School, not least for the children, teachers and parents who will be affected, but I also worry for the wider community here.

"Closing the school will have a terrible impact on the amenities that are based at Bearsden Cross, where the local shops will no doubt lose trade. I'm concerned too that there will be more traffic on the already busy roads, with parents driving their children who might otherwise walk to and from school."

Wendy McLaren, from the action group Save Bearsden Primary, welcomed the author's support.

She said: "Our school is situated in the heart of Bearsden and plays a major role in the life of our vibrant and close-knit community.

"It has a healthy and increasing school roll with fantastic teachers and support staff, and our children's attainment levels are above average.

"We can see no educational or social benefit for moving our school from its current site.

"We can't believe that there is only one option on the table being considered for Bearsden Primary. We want the council and councillors to stop this consultation and have a proper and meaningful discussion with parents."

In December, councillors voted to go to public consultation on a set of plans for school closures and mergers which currently affects 24 out of the 36 East Dunbartonshire Council primaries.

Under one package of measures Bearsden Primary would be moved and merged with Castlehill Primary, more than a mile away, and there is the option of a merger of Westerton and Colquhoun Park primaries.

East Dunbartonshire says it needs to reduce the number of its primary schools because they are operating well below their capacity and some of the buildings are in need of refurbishment.