Parents of pupils at St Ninian’s RC School in Newton Stewart have claimed that plans to remove its second teacher will impact severely on the education of their children.
Just months after glowing praise from inspectors who felt the school had turned a corner in the wake of an earlier, disappointing HMIe report, a falling roll of Catholic pupils means they are set to axe the much-valued second teacher for 2013/14.
This will leave 19 pupils aged between five and 11 years, in a single class taught by the head teacher, and parents are questioning how long standards can be maintained before pupils are removed and the school closed.
Non-Catholic pupils were turned away during the enrolment process and now council officials say they cannot justify taking in these pupils at great cost to the local authority.
At a parent/teacher council meeting this week, some parents voiced their concern that the council is trying to close the school.
One, whose family are Catholic, said she’d rather have non-Catholics taught by two teachers than all-Catholics taught by one. She added: “The school has just got itself on track for a bright future with good staff.
“They have worked so hard recently to raise their profile and I think they are just about there, hence parents seeing the school as a viable alternative for sending their children to.
“It truly spells the end. We will continue fighting this because we feel whether you’re black, white, Catholic or Buddhist, you should have the right to choose.”
A spokesperson for the council simply said: “We are applying the normal council policy for dealing with applications from non-catchment pupils.”
It is believed the second teacher has been offered an alternative post some distance away.
Editorial – page 14