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  • Comments from visitors to this website

    Add your own comments from this page and they will be passed on to our action group.

    While we are happy to publish comments for and against the rural schools, please try to make them constructive rather than just wishing rural schools will close or criticising the efforts of our communities to save them. Otherwise you really are just wasting your time...

    Please note that the views on this page may not necessarily reflect those of MRSAG.

    13/05/2004 : John Cummings

    I live in Gorebridge and although the closures don't effect me I hate to see the heart being ripped out of our rural villages.

    There is a story (page 9) about rural America in this months edition (May) of the National Geographic. A quote from Ruth Anderson a retired schoolteacher "when you lose the school, you've lost the town".

    Keep up the fight.

    21/04/2004 : Catherine Smith

    Excellent web-site with lots of information. Thank you to all those who have put in a lot of effort to produce this site.

    Midlothian Councillors' disregard for the importance of a village school to a rural community demonstrates they have little grasp of rural concerns. And yet they have the audacity to use an oak leaf as their symbol.

    They argue that fewer, larger primary schools can best cater for pupils with Special Educational Needs. 15 years experience of teaching in the Special Education sector has taught me that small classes are the most important factor in delivering effectively to this group of children. Small, close knit school communities are crucial for fostering social inclusion. If the planned closure of small, rural schools goes ahead, parents of children with Special Educational Needs will be denied access to the type of provision their children really need. Even Midlothian's only Special School has been re-sited onto a huge, busy campus. There will soon be no alternative for parents. Far from providing for pupils with SEN, it will remove a very special form of provision.

    21/04/2004 : Brian Archibald

    This closure programme is short sighted and will be extremely damaging to the rural villages and coutryside. With an ever increasing expansion of the housebuilding programme in Midlothian and increasing population, we should be opening more schools not closing them.

    It also shows the lack of democracy and accountability within the Council chamber when such a decision can be taken without any real debate or discussion by the Labour Group. It is quite simply a one party state.

    These schools should be nurtured and expanded as they provide a first class education for the kids and are an essential service for the rural parts of Midlothian.

    09/04/2004 : Anne Riddick

    I just wanted to send you some support in your battle for the retention of small community based schools. We have been through a similar fight in New Zealand recently (our school was given it's reprieve only 2 days ago). Our battle was with the central government but was similar in many other aspects.

    I'll be keeping an eye on your site - wish there was more I could do!

    31/03/2004 : Mr & Mrs Church-Olney

    As the cracks start to appear in the proposals put forward by Midlothian Council we urge everyone to keep fighting to keep our schools open.

    We've all studied the legislation, the figures, the percentages, the history and most important of all we have disected the Councils proposals and the majority of the rural population in Midlothian are in firm agreement that our schools should be left as they are.

    The future of our children depends on the decision made next month by the people we voted for and we can only hope that they will listen to the views of the electorate and represent them.

    27/03/2004 : Lorraine Chapman

    At the end of a very exhausting week - well done everyone and thanks for all the support at meetings and public consultations - however the momentum must continue.

    26/03/2004 : Martin Walker

    Just noticed something on a re-read of the Council glossy that is supposed to be our statutory notification. On page 1, under the 'Consultation amd Comment' heading, it quite clearly states:

    'If you are a parent with a child attending or due to attend one of the schools named in these proposals, you will receive a letter explaining in detail what is proposed for your school and detailing the opportunities you have to take part in the consultation. A series of public meetings will then be held....etc'

    I have received no such letter. Has anyone else?

    26/03/2004 : Elaine Durie

    After tonight's meeting (25/03/04) with Donald Mackay and Co. I am of the opinion that Midlothian Council do not care about the education of our children and the numerous benefits there are in rural schools - their only concern is financial. Cranston Primary provides an excellent standard of education and should NOT be closed but encouraged to continue the good work!!!

    In the words of one of our spokespeople

    "Cranston is a school, but its MORE than just a school!"

    We should all band together to fight for our right to send our children to small, rural schools!

    18/03/2004 : Karen Beggs

    Midlothian Council assure us that their proposals are at the consultation stage, yet many decisions appear to have already been made, and only one option has been presented for consideration.

    PPP funding has already been secured for 7 new schools. Consultation on this has been nil.

    My placing request for my daughter to be enrolled at Cranston in August 2004 has not been accepted, and I have been advised to apply for an alternative school. My son is in P2 at Cranston. If decisions have not yet been made, why has my placing request not been accepted?

    I hope that democracy will prevail, but Midlothian Council will have to work hard to prove to me that they are not simply trying to railroad a set of pre-agreed closures as a way of justifying hasty grabbing of the PPP funding carrot.

    18/03/2004 : Andrew Hudson

    Just to correct your anonymous correspondent of 12/03/2004:

    1. The majority of Temple pupils live within the catchment and arrive by school minibus, not by car in ones and twos from Gorebridge. Parents sending their children to Temple school from outside its catchment have exercised their legal right to choice. It is not proper to suggest the reasons for their choices.
    2. The most popular events at Temple village hall are connected with the school or the nursery that feeds the school. Without these the active village hall based calendar would not look as active or inclusive. The nursery is also a major source of income for the village hall.
    3. None of the small schools are unable to deal with running the modern school curriculum specified by the Scottish Executive and assessed by HM Inspectorate of Education. The lack of adequate facilities is just another piece of disinformation from Midlothian Council. Temple pupils are bussed to swimming and skiing lessons just like the pupils from all other primary schools without a swimming pool or ski slope.
    4. Given that most of the Temple pupils are from its catchment area some living more than five miles in the opposite direction to Gorebridge - relocation to Stobhill would actually increase road usage through longer journey times or additional buses.

    18/03/2004 : Dom and Jo Church-Olney

    Our eldest daughter is in P4 at Cranston Primary School and our youngest daughter is due to start in August. The very thought that this school need closing is completely outrageous. The 'facts and figures' quoted by Midlothian Council in the proposal are so dated and quite often so incorrect that it would appear no research has taken place at all. Even in today's Advertiser they continue to quote dubious figures from as far back as 1991, stating that the school roll has been as low as 35. If this is their main argument for closing the school, maybe they should acknowledge the school roll is far healthier -

    • Sept 2003 - 58 pupils
    • Sept 2002 - 59 pupils
    • Sept 2001 - 64 pupils
    • Sept 2000 - 66 pupils
    • Sept 1999 - 71 pupils
    • Sept 1998 - 65 pupils
    • Sept 1997 - 59 pupils
    • Sept 1996 - 59 pupils
    • Sept 1995 - 57 pupils
    • Sept 1994 - 53 pupils

    So if the figures in the Advertiser of 35 and 76 are correct this must have been in 1991, 1992 or 1993. In 1999 the roll was at 71 pupils and 3 P1 placements were refused and school instructed not to enrol beyond 71.

    The fact that Midlothian Council is stating that the school has a capacity factor of 76% is therefore incorrect; it is in fact over 80%. Their reason behind this discrepancy is that the school, with another member of staff, is capable of taking more pupils. Why then in 1999 did they refuse 3 placements???

    They still claim that the school needs refurbished, lacks space for library and IT facilities, and the separate building poses a security problem. All of this is dated and/or completely incorrect.

    Whoever put this proposal together has apparently not visited Cranston Primary School in the past 10 years.

    17/03/2004 : David Drever

    As a concerned parent I would like to take this opportunity to express my disgust at our so called representatives of the people.The consultation process appears to be little more than a joke!!!! dictatorial seems more appropriate.

    As a parent who sent his two elder boys to CRANSTON and still has a son in primary 5 I can attest to the excellence of this rural school. The fact that I choose to do is a testament to this, as I stay outwith the catchment area.

    15/03/2004 : Name not supplied

    The thought of my daughter losing her school just so the council can build their "streamline Educational facility" infuriates me. My daughter started in August 2003 and has been extremely happy there so to tell her she may have to go to another school knocked her for six - I now still have a happy girl but you can see that even at 5 years old this issue is preying on her little mind.

    In the Midlothian News out this week the front picture is of pupils at St Andrews Primary School this is a bid for the council to prove that "New Schools work". Yes these pupils appear happy but my point is that they did not have to move into one school before the new school had been built.

    Peter Boyes, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning is also quoted saying "The proposals put forward are about securing the highest possible quality of school and community facilities equipped for the modern curriculum which our children deserve"

    I feel yes my child deserves this but I also feel that she is getting this by attending a small rural school where more time is spent with the children which I feel is also important. Big is not always best!!

    Should these proposals go ahead The heart of the community in Temple will be ripped from the village leaving families to move outwith the area.

    The fight to keep these Rural schools open will continue - and rightly so, some of my husband's family went to Temple Primary School and I am fighting to see that our future generations can also enjoy their educational years in a Rural community School.

    14/03/2004 : Drew Aitken

    I attended Temple Primary School and now live in Denmark. I am still very much in touch with Temple community, even though I have not lived there since 1965. That alone proves the friendships developed by attending such a school.

    Take away village schools and you take away young families and social ties from the communities concerned, eventually developing into communities of strangers.

    Temple School is an great institute. Great institutes are to be built upon, not taken away!

    12/03/2004 : Name not supplied

    Whereas I have significant sympathy with those residents and near residents of the rural schools which are threatened with closure, there seems to be a degree of double standards around various issues, arguments and points raised in the current debate. As a resident and council tax payer (in one of Scotland's highest council tax charging regions) I feel that the following is pertinent:

    1. Schools in the heart of the community: Temple school has by fact a minority of pupils from the village and surroundings. Most pupils seem to arrive by car in ones and twos from Gorebridge. Why are these pupils not being educated in the heart of their community? If removing a school from the heart of (for instance) Temple reduces the strength of that community, then what are pupils being removed from their (for instance) Gorebridge community doing other than reducing the strength and diversity of that community? And do parents by implication suggest that other primary schools in the area (e.g. Stobhill) are "bad" or inferior due to a perception that they may have a more "diverse" mix of pupils? Are the teachers at (for instance) Stobhill Primary worse / less competent than those at Borthwick / Temple? This is clearly implied by such a choice by these parents.
    2. Much of community life lies outwith the school: Temple and Carrington both have active social hall based calenders which allow inclusion of many residents, not just those who have children of primary or nursery school age range.
    3. Facilities: no matter how it is dressed up, the regular bus runs from one small school to a different site to use their unarguably wider ranging and more modern facilities points to the fact that most of these small schools are unable to deal with running the modern school curriculum.
    4. Transport / the environment: many people drive out of an immediate school catchment area in to that of a small local school as it is seen to provide "better" educational experiences (see points 1 and 3). The use of cars and underuse of lift sharing or minibus transport is pitiful when set against the perception and report of this campaign group to keep schools at the "heart of a community" as well as clearly not being "green" or environmentally friendly.
    A Realistic Middle Way?

    As a realistic compromise, why not campaign for enlargement, retention and enrichment of a smaller number of rural schools, surely more viable than trying (I fear in vain) to sustain all of these old and inadequately equipped schools with an average roll of less than 40 pupils? No matter what one's standpoint is in terms of right and wrong - and it would be wrong to close all of these schools - surely it is better to retain some rather than all: the middle way is often the only viable solution.

    10/03/2004 : David Lewenhak

    I live in Cranston Schoolhouse adjoining Cranston. We have just had our chimney swept and our sweep and property maintenance man (a man of experience in his sixties) has just given our roof and the school's a clean bill of health. Victorian buildings such as Cranston may still be standing long after the shiny white PPP proposed builds.

    It is surely a better strategy to leave these schools standing to fit into sustainable smaller communities around which environmental (at the heart of Labour policy?) farming, housing, transport, businesses can grow.

    09/03/2004 : Annie Binks

    My partner has run a successful business employing 18 people in Edinburgh for 11 years and we will be starting up another business in the near future. Our plans were to do so in Midlothian as we believe in supporting the local community. We use local goods and services as far as possible.

    We moved to Carrington 5 years ago in the knowledge that our children will have the benefits of an excellent local rural school. If this closure goes through, there would be nothing to keep us in Midlothian.

    I fear that this is the another step towards the death of the villages and local rural community. Our buses have gone (I personally have been housebound for 6 weeks), we have no shops or pubs. The Schools and Nurseries are the places that make the area a community. Carrington lost its school some years ago and the atmosphere in the village is almost deathly. You can go for weeks without meeting anyone. The activity that the school generates in Temple makes it a much more vibrant, alive place. In these days of antisocial mod cons i.e. cars and TV, the schools are indispensible places to knit together the community.

    On a broader level, we are also committed to heritage conservation. Do we want to completely homogenise our society? Why does Scotland attract such a thriving tourist trade? They don't want a country full of shiny new boxes and neither do we.

    Last Updated : 09 January 2008