Councillors come out fighting to explain why they gave Abronhill High closure the nod
Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 16:29 GMT on Tuesday 19th February, 2013.
Picture is copyright of Scott Campbell/ Cumbernauld Media.
TWO Cumbernauld South Councillors have approached a local newspaper to talk of their motives in deciding to vote in favour of Abronhill High School closing, next year.
Labour Councillors Stephanie Muir and Allan Graham approached the Cumbernauld News to make the factors behind their decisions clear, after the pair felt singled out by comments on social media websites.
Under the headline ‘Why we voted to shut down a school’ the two Councillors discuss why they voted in the Learning and Leisure Services committee, on Wednesday 6th February 2013, to close Abronhill High School.
The decision came after close to six months of campaigning by local residents to save their local high school from closure, with an “unprecedented response” being recognised in the council’s own analysis of their consultation in the proposed closure.
The decision was passed by the council’s Learning and Leisure Services committee and later ratified by full council, at 4pm.
Explaining her motives, Stephanie Muir said: “As an ex-pupil of Abronhill High School I certainly didn’t take the decision lightly, but feel it was the right thing to do. The long term benefits of the new investment put the local education on a solid footing for years to come. A brand new school for Cumbernauld as well as Greenfaulds, we have ensured that our town will see around £70 million investment in schools in the next three-four years. This will mean new, modern facilities for our children to benefit from.”
Her Cumbernauld South colleague, Allan Graham said: “As a responsible councillor I had to weigh up all aspects of the proposal and reached the conclusion that the benefits of the decision are too compelling too ignore. In bringing together two massively under occupied schools we can provide a wider curriculum and more opportunities for children. The cuts imposed by the SNP government are putting huge pressure on the council and unfortunately it is leading to some difficult decisions.”
The comments were made by the two Councillors after they failed to defy the whip and voted instead to close Abronhill High School and move its staff and students to Cumbernauld High School – an older campus, two miles away.
Members of the community have not welcomed their comments especially since the Councillors claimed, at a hustings before the 2012 local elections, that they would be ‘mavericks’ and would ‘rebel’ against the party whip.
After the vote, in Motherwell, Councillor David Stocks, leader of the SNP minority group at NLC said: “Pupils will be expected to walk through an isolated, heavily wooded glen route to reach Cumbernauld High.
“480 extra Abronhill pupils are to be crammed into the ageing Cumbernauld High, while the campus becomes a building site for four years. Pupils’ quality of education will suffer over the next four or five years. This amalgamation borders on recklessness.”
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