Pupils strike to save school

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CHILDREN at an under-threat primary are staging a "strike" outside their school to protest against plans to close it.

The pupils and their parents will form a picket line – complete with banners and placards – outside Bonnington Primary in Leith during the first hour of lessons on Tuesday morning.

The protest is being organised by the school's parent council in response to widespread anger at the closure plan.

The school is one of three facing the axe under plans announced by the city council two weeks ago, with Lismore and Westburn being the other two threatened with closure.

A public consultation will get under way in August, but the council is proposing that Bonnington and Lismore close for good before Christmas and that Westburn shuts next summer.

Parents at Bonnington are furious at the idea of closing in the middle of a school year, claiming it would seriously damage their children's education.

They also say the school has already been damaged because parents are starting to switch their children to other schools.

Stewart Muir, co-chairman of the school's parent council, said: "No parent wants to try to get their child into another school half way through the term, because it's a total disruption for the children.

"This scaremongering, which has been going on since the closure plans last summer, is having a negative effect on people's lives.

"One child has already been taken out and another five that I know of are going to be taken out.

"It seems like this is what they want to happen, because it will make their case stronger for closing the school.

"It's a great school with lovely teachers, and I don't know why they would want to close it."

Despite their fight, the parent council said that if the worst happens and the school is to close, they would rather it happened next summer instead of this Christmas.

Fellow parent council chairperson Lisa Manders – who has two daughters at the school – said: "If parents thought they had another year, they wouldn't move them.

"It isn't fair that parents should have to move their child half way through term. It's absolutely ridiculous."

Parents have been given letters to inform them that the one-hour strike is happening.

Miss Manders added: "Most parents support the strike."

Bonnington was one of several schools in a strike last August, when education leaders revealed plans to close 22 schools and four community centres.

A council spokeswoman said: "We recognise that parents and pupils may wish to make their voices heard, but we cannot condone anything that will cause disruption to children's education.

"There will be opportunities for those concerned to make their views heard through the consultation process, including at public meetings, which will be held in each affected school."

'Closure makes no sense'

PARENTS held a protest at a creche in a last-ditch attempt to keep it open beyond the end of this month.

The creche at the Leith Victoria leisure centre is due to close after the city council cut Edinburgh Leisure's funding. The council agreed to explore new funding options, but so far nothing has been agreed and parents say they are running out of time.

Nine mothers and children took over the creche for several hours yesterday afternoon, with banners and posters pleading with the council to save it.

Sam Anderson, a health centre manager from Canongate, attended with her two-year-old daughter Sophie.

She said: "This will exclude many parents from taking part in regular exercise here.

"This is really short-sighted. There is a lot on the political agenda about keeping fit and healthy, so closing the creche does not make sense."