Town's MSP hands in his Call-in request over council's decision to close Abronhill High
Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 21:08 GMT on Tuesday 26th February, 2013.
Picture is copyright of Scott Campbell/ Cumbernauld Media.
CUMBERNAULD and Kilsyth's MSP has declared that he has submitted his Ministerial Call-in request.
Jamie Hepburn, SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth has revealed how he has written to the Scottish Government requesting that they call-in the decision by North Lanarkshire Council to approve the closure of Abronhill High School; transferring the pupils from there to Cumbernauld High, effective from the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
The Council took the decision to back this measure earlier this month, having previously undertaken a consultation on the proposal which attracted a response that they themselves described as “unprecedented” and which set out the depth of opposition in the local area to the plan.
Scottish Ministers have until 27th February to decide whether or not to “call-in” this decision and assess whether or not it is consistent with the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.  If they do call-in the plan, they can then decide whether or not it goes ahead.
Mr Hepburn has requested the call-in on the back of a damning report on North Lanarkshire’s proposals for the future of Abronhill and Cumbernauld High Schools by Education Scotland – the body charged with inspecting Scotland’s schools and assessing school closure plans.
Mr Hepburn’s call-in request sets out the ways in which North Lanarkshire Council has failed to respond to a number of specific concerns set out by Education Scotland, such as the timescale for the proposed merger; the poor quality walking route between Abronhill and Cumbernauld High; the effect of closure of Abronhill High School on the wider community, and the detrimental impact that the proposal will have on pupils, particularly those with additional support needs.
Mr Hepburn said: “North Lanarkshire’s plan to close Abronhill High and move the pupils there to Cumbernauld High has not only met with significant opposition locally, but has been the focus of criticism from Education Scotland as well.  The Council should have responded to the concerns expressed, but has arrogantly ignored them.”
The town’s MSP made the comments on Monday, one day before the Save Abronhill High School campaign handed their official Call-in request to the Scottish Government.
Mr Hepburn added: “I believe that the case for Scottish Ministers calling in this decision is clear.  Education Scotland has set out a number of concerns about the proposal, not least that it is unlikely that any educational benefits will be immediately realised by it.  Educational benefit should be paramount in any changes, and I don’t think that this has been the case when North Lanarkshire has brought forward this proposal.
“That is why I have written to request that this is called in, and I remain hopeful that this will occur and that ultimately the Council do not get the go ahead for this proposal.”

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