Sit-in protests at schools end

A GROUP of parents who had been staging a sit-in at two closure-threatened schools ended their protest yesterday.

Campaigners occupied the neighbouring Wyndford and St Gregory's primaries in Glasgow's Maryhill for just over two weeks. The schools are among a number of primaries and nurseries that Glasgow City Council is proposing to close or merge. But parents fighting to keep the two primaries open began a sit-in on April 3 when the schools broke up for Easter.

Yesterday, they called off their protest, allowing youngsters to return to classes when the schools open again tomorrow. However Glasgow Save Our Schools campaign organiser Richie Venton said the parents "pledged to fight by all other means" to prevent the closure.

Venton said those involved in the sit-in were "responsible people" who had "sacrificed their family Easter to heroically do battle with a heartless Labour council".

He added: "They are coming out at a time of the campaigners' choosing, which leaves the council with absolutely no excuse for barring young kids from entering the schools they are familiar with and want to return to on Monday morning.

"It is the council which all along has sought to disrupt kids' lives and education – not the people fighting to save the schools."

And he stated: "They have pledged to fight by all other means up to and well beyond the council meeting on 23rd, unless the council does the decent thing and reverses its closure plans."

On Wednesday, councillors voted to close 20 city primary schools and nurseries, including Wyndford and St Gregory's. Glasgow City Council's Labour group backed the proposals recommended by education chiefs.

The final decision on the future of the 11 primary schools and nine nurseries will be made when the full council meets later this week. Glasgow City Council has said the closures are necessary to address falling school rolls in the city and buildings which are in a state of disrepair.

The council confirmed that Wyndford and St Gregory's primary schools are now expected to be open tomorrow morning, and advised parents and carers of youngsters at both schools that children should attend at their normal times.

Last week they warned the parents that their children would be bussed to other schools this week unless the sit-in ended by Friday afternoon. The council said it needed to carry out a 'deep clean' and check the premises for any damage – claims which have angered parents who say they have looked after the facilities.

A council insider said: "The protesters had said they have kept the schools clean, but we need to know they are clean which means we will need to do the work ourselves."