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Council to close 10 schools in £73m revamp

A SCOTS council is to shut 10 under-used and deteriorating schools as part of a £73 million plan to create new campuses.

North Lanarkshire will close two high schools in Motherwell, with a new "super-school" replacing them on the site of the former Ravenscraig steel works.

A further seven primaries around Coatbridge and Airdrie will also shut, with their replacements including a joint campus for Catholic and non-­denominational schools.

Sources within the council say a backlash among some parents of the primary school children is all but inevitable but point to dwindling rolls and poor condition reports to underscore the need for new campuses.

A source said: "I think most parents accept the case for the new high school. The range of subjects a major new school could roll out, as well as the facilities, speak for itself. With the primaries, people are a lot more protective and precious. There will be protests and upset but you also expect that once the schools are built the pros outweigh the cons."

There are understood to have recently been up to 12,000 empty school desks in the local authority area.

The condition of the schools concerned are graded as B or C. All the new school buildings would be A-rated.

Part of North Lanarkshire's schools programme sparked a parents' sit-in protest at a primary in Coatbridge more than three years ago which led to a dawn raid by police and council staff.

In the past 18 months it has faced further opposition over the closure of Abronhill High in Cumbernauld, the school made famous by the movie Gregory's Girl.

Consultation reports on the latest proposals are being made available today ahead of a special meeting on Monday.

An­amalgamation of Taylor High School and Our Lady's High School in Motherwell, incorporating a joint campus with a new Bothwellpark High, which caters for youngsters with additional needs, has been proposed for Ravenscraig.

Seen as part of the ongoing efforts to regenerate the former steelworks site, the new £37m school would have around 1400 students.

Once source said he expected the Catholic Diocese of Motherwell to be keen on retaining the 140-year Our Lady's High School name.Taylor High was only built in the early 1980s.

In Airdrie, the proposals are to amalgamate St Dominic's and St Edward's with a new primary school and to merge Dunrobin and Petersburn primaries with a new school.

In Coatbridge, a consultation will be carried out on the proposed merger of Carnbroe and Sikeside primaries with St Stephen's Primary on a newbuild joint-campus school.

Councillor Jim Logue, head of North Lanarkshire's learning and leisure services committee, said: "Since 2006, this council has invested more than £500m creating 38 new schools and nurseries and a further 10 community facilities including new libraries, sports facilities and culture venues.

"We have experienced better attendances, better results and better working conditions for pupils and staff alike."

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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