East Ayrshire councillors recognised the “overwhelming will of the people” as they approved the retention and upgrade of St Sophia’s Primary School, Galston at Cabinet on 12 June.
This followed a consultation with parents, community organisations and the public over the school’s future which offered three possible options:
The consultation ran from 14 January until 1 March 2019 and comprised an online consultation, a series of 3 public meetings and included notices in local press and social media.
372 online responses were received, of which 83.87% were in favour of option 1. At the public meetings, support for the retention on the original site was even higher, at 96.75%.
Councillors welcomed the report, backing the public consensus. Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Lifelong Learning said: “Throughout the consultation and public meetings what came across very strongly was the passion of the school community. It’s clear from the talks we had and the many submissions that St Sophia’s is a very successful school which sits right in the heart of its local community.”
Councillor Gordon Jenkins reflected the general feeling, saying: “I’m all for local democracy. It’s clear there’s an overwhelming desire in the community to keep the school at its existing site. Of course it’s an old building, and this presents many challenges so we have to be realistic as to what can be achieved with the budget available, but we are happy to back this option.”
Over £2.8m has been earmarked for the upgrade and a project manager will be appointed shortly to facilitate a programme of works