Wednesday, 28 July 2010


The closure of Crossroads School in Kilmarnock, reported in today’s Herald was proposed and voted for by Labour in East Ayrshire.
The SNP MSP for the area Willie Coffey today condemned the utter hypocrisy of Labour’s education spokesman after it was revealed the closure motion was put forward by a Labour councillor and that Labour voted for the closure throughout the process.  Mr Coffey also said it was ridiculous to claim that this closure meant other rural schools would close and it exposed how Labour's Holyrood group would stoop to any level of dishonesty.
Mr Coffey pointed out that:
* The key vote on the closure of the Crossroads school was moved by the leader of the Labour group on East Ayrshire Council, Maureen McKay, at the council Cabinet meeting of 23 June and it was passed unanimously by the Council Cabinet – which includes Labour members. It was also unanimously backed by all parties, and local education and church representatives.
* Labour MSPs also voted in favour of the Schools (Consultation) Scotland Bill on 19 November 2009 which was passed unanimously by the Parliament.
* Between 1999 and 2007 Labour closed 64 rural schools.
* Labour’s manifesto did not offer a commitment to any additional protection for rural schools. Under the old legislation that Labour would have left in place, the school would not have been referred to Ministers for a decision and the closure would simply have gone ahead on the basis of the Council’s decision.
Mr Coffey, who represents Kilmarnock said:
“Des McNulty’s comments are misleading and utterly hypocritical.
“This is typical of the unsavoury depths Labour have sink to in opposition. No one can trust a word they utter. They voted for a closure so they can protest about it afterwards.  Labour have been misleading parents and children.
“No one likes closing schools and this was a very difficult decision.  But Labour MSPS should have the guts to admit that their councillors proposed the closure and that Labour voted for it’s closure. 
“The unanimous decision was backed by education and church representatives because of the circumstances of the school and the alternatives on offer.
“This decision has no bearing on any other school.  Each case is unique as each school, and the local circumstances will be unique.
"The SNP Government has put in place steps to support parents and children in rural areas in making the case to save their school.  Labour simply closed 64 rural schools without question.
"In this case the planning, the consultation and the proposals for future education for children from Crossroads in Kilmarnock ensured the best possible education."

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