PARENTS fighting plans to shut a primary school say they remain hopeful the Government will prevent the closure despite ministers ruling that the move would not represent a significant deterioration in the provision of Catholic education.

Last month, ministers announced they would review East Dunbartonshire Council's decision to close Milngavie's only Catholic school, St Joseph's after pressure from parents battling to save the primary from plans that would see it and nearby St Andrew's, in Bearsden, shut. The council's plans must be given consent under two separate legistations.

Ministers have now written to the council to confirm they believe the closure would not represent "a significant deterioration in the provision, distribution or availability" of Roman Catholic education. They also confirmed consent for the closures under the Education Act 1980 is not required.

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This is a separate process from that required under the Schools Consultation Act 2010 and the "call-in" scrutiny is still ongoing.

Campaigner Andrew McFaddyen said: "East Dunbartonshire Council is clutching at straws if it thinks this means there is hope for the decision not to be reversed."

Council Leader Rhondda Geekie said: "I am pleased ministers do not believe this is a deterioration in Catholic education provision."