School used in Gregory’s Girl film to close

THE school which featured in the cult Scottish film Gregory’s Girl is to close following a decision by councillors.

Abronhill High School, which was used in exterior scenes of the 1981 movie, will be merged with nearby Cumbernauld High School following a decision by councillors today.

Members of North Lanarkshire Council’s Learning and Leisure Services Committee voted in favour of merging the schools into one campus from the end of the 2013/14 school year. The decision was later backed by the full council.

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The decision means all pupils will attend Cumbernauld High from 2014 until a new school is built. It was also agreed that Calder Primary School in Motherwell would close at the end of the 2012/13 school session.

Abronhill had provided the backdrop for the 1981 coming-of-age comedy, which helped launch the careers of John Gordon Sinclair and Clare Grogan.

However, the council said the school is now under-occupied and “no longer fit for the modern curriculum”. It said its decision to “rationalise” the school estate would save £1.3 million.

Councillor Jim Logue, convener of Learning and Leisure Services, said: “This decision paves the way for a new school and community facility to be built - one which is fit for the modern curriculum and which will benefit generations of pupils to come.

“It means that over the next few years, along with the new Greenfaulds High School campus, two state-of-the-art secondary schools will be built in Cumbernauld, with a total investment in the region of £70m. This is a considerable level of investment in the Cumbernauld community and local economy.

“The fundamental reasons for making these proposals have not altered, namely the schools are hugely under-occupied. Abronhill and Cumbernauld High Schools alone are sitting with a combined surplus of around 950 empty places. We need to make savings to allow a new school to be built.”

But Scott Campbell, a spokesman for the Save Abronhill High School campaign, said councillors had ignored the wishes of local residents in choosing to close the secondary.

“We are very disappointed by the decision taken,” he said. “We are very angry that the councillors who voted for the closure didn’t support the unprecedented response of the community’s rejection of the proposals in the council’s consultation.

“We have previously warned that we are the community, the majority, the voters and, ultimately, their pay masters. This decision will not be forgotten – it is a dark day for local democracy, Abronhill and the individual councillors who favoured Abronhill High’s closure.”

Jamie Hepburn, SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, added: “This decision is an absolute disgrace. North Lanarkshire Council have once again put aside the wishes of the community in order to pursue their own agenda.

“The parents, pupils and wider community of Abronhill have run a tireless and excellent campaign to keep the school open. The arguments for Abronhill High School to remain open are as valid now as ever before, and the next step is to see if the Scottish Government will call this proposal in. I will be writing to them to make such a request shortly.”