Dunfermline South by-election date set for October

Published: 4 Sep 2013 10:309 comments

THE proposed closure of Pitcorthie Primary is set to be the battleground in the by-election fight for Dunfermline South in October.

Fife Council has set 24th October as the date to find the successor to the late Labour councillor Mike Rumney (pictured), who passed away in July after a battle with cancer.

Labour, SNP and the Lib Dems are all represented in the four-member ward, and each will be hoping to add a second councillor, with candidates expected to be revealed by the end of the week.

Nominations are now being invited ahead of the closing date of 23rd September but candidates can expect to field a barrage of questions about the schools shake-up.

The closure of Pitcorthie has been particularly controversial and even Labour politicians are split on their party’s plans to shut the popular school.

Pitcorthie parents have visited Fife House to hand over a petition, staged a demonstration at Dunfermline City Chambers and unfurled a banner outside the school in their campaign to keep it open.

Asked if the matter of school closures could be the vote-winner, Labour council leader Alex Rowley felt there were “a whole range of issues”.

He told the Press, “There’s the bedroom tax, council services, a £100mil gap in the budget – there’s a whole mass of issues right now.

“What we’ll be putting forward is what we’ve been doing – investments in apprenticeships, jobs, education, getting the best education for children in Fife.

“The area covers a large part of Dunfermline – there are a lot of issues in terms of Fife Council and those will be the issues we will be campaigning on.”

Nomination forms can be obtained by calling 01592 583111/2, emailing doreen.sim@fife.gov.uk or online at www.fifedirect.org.uk.

Completed forms must be returned by 4pm on 23rd September and candidate nomination papers are expected to be published the following day.

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  • Interalia
    224 posts
    Sep 4, 13:24
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    Apart from the parents of Pitcorthie, few other people give a damn about it closing or not tbh. If it costs too much money to keep open and the money invested in other schools then close it fast, the end.

    A more pertinent issue is the council refusing to take over communal areas in new build estates without being paid 30 years worth of contributions towards upkeep, yet it did adopt such ares until the 1990's.

    Recommend?   Yes 8     No 7

  • ShirleyMac
    38 posts
    Sep 4, 15:21
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    Contrary to what some people believe, the closure of Pitcorthie will not just affect the pupils of that school. Pupils at Linburn, Commercial & Touch will also be adversely affected as school rolls swell & class sizes increase. Education will suffer, behaviour problems will increase as children struggle to integrate into a new school or struggle to cope with so many new children all at once.

    As far as Pitcorthie primary costing too much money, that is patently ridiculous as it actually has the lowest cost per pupil of all the schools in this area according to Fife Council's own published data. It would also cost less money to bring Pitcorthie up to a B standard than Fife Council have pledged to plough into the proposed receiving schools.

    Recommend?   Yes 12     No 5

  • kathryn1393
    1 post
    Sep 4, 15:54
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    It seems particularly narrow minded to believe the closure of a school that sits smack bang in the centre of a community would only affect a few parents. The proposed closure of one of the mist successful, economical schools in Dunfermline and wider Fife, impacts not only the 3 expected receiving schools but both Woodmill and Dunfermline High Schools.

    Investment funds, as Fife council have confirmed, is available for the investmentin pur schools, so far Fife council have chosen not to use this. Education for the children in Fife affects us all...... However, who cares about communal areas not being taken over in New Build Estates, sorry, as far as I'm aware, there was a contract entered into between the builder and the buyer that there remained a common obligation to meet the cost....there aren't many of Fife council housing Estates with shrubs and manicured lawns on their doorsteps maintained to a high standard by the council!

    Given that its difficult in this age of osterity for our elderly and disabled to be looked after properly...some may want to evaluate what may be important as a council priority.

    Recommend?   Yes 9     No 3

  • Interalia
    224 posts
    Sep 4, 22:16
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    Pitcorthie is an eyesore: I suppose it fits in with the surroundings. Only local parents give a toss as they may have to walk their children a little bit further, get up a bit earlier and get the fresh air. No one else cares, apart from some vocal parents and this local paper desperate to make a profit.

    " Pupils at Linburn, Commercial & Touch will also be adversely affected as school rolls swell & class sizes increase." There is no proof that class room size adversely affects teaching standards - a poor teacher of 1 is a poor teacher of 100.

    Recommend?   Yes 5     No 7

  • hutchie35
    7 posts
    Sep 5, 07:17
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    Pitcorthie an eyesore! tell that to the pupils who enjoy the school and raise funds to improve there school.

    There is no proof that class room size adversely affects teaching standards MMM that will be why Fife Council have been paid a grant to reduce classroom sizes to 18 for P1 - P3 pupils to provide a better start to there education from the Scottish Goverment.

    The bigger picture that people should question is the Councils own costings, the extra £3.9 million that will be spent on moving Pitcorthie School on top of the £2,7 million they say would cost to repair the school, this 2.7 they say they will use to upgrade other schools, the money has already been allocated in the budget for upgrading works. Off this £2.7million who has recently had a quote for car work or building work where the quote has been rounded up to the nearest £100. Well the quote for Pitcorthie is in increments of 100k not to mention the professional fees of 200k and 300k for reroofing works when this had been done in the last 5 years should a contractor not be held accountable not the tax payers!!

    Fife Council increase the school role from 330 to 410 in there own words 2 rooms were converted back into classrooms, this was to accomdate the new classroom size of 18, so back to school folks

    2x18 = 36 not 80, not to mention the fact they said class sizes were to be reduced from 25 to 18 for p1-p3,

    6 classes at 25 = 150, 6 classes at 18 =124 difference minus 26,

    So 330-26+36= increase of 10 not 80.

    The council say there is a gap of 100million i wonder why if simple arith does not add up, and they wish to spend an additional 3.9 million that does not need to be spend.

    Yes Pitcorthie Primary School will be a battle ground for the up coming by-election, one of many issues for the area.

    Recommend?   Yes 6     No 2

  • Interalia
    224 posts
    Sep 5, 10:56
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    "there was a contract entered into between the builder and the buyer that there remained a common obligation to meet the cost."

    The only contract between a builder and a buyer is to buy the plot. Until the 1990's councils would adopt the communal areas that they insist on in new estates after the builder pays them some money towards maintenance. Councils stopped adopting and builders then placed the maintenance of the communal areas onto buyers, making builders more money and forcing owners to pay council tax and maintenance of land though houses across the street were council maintained.

    There are no 'contracts' to oblige owners to contribute to communal areas. The deeds allow for owners to contribute but the law of that is ambiguous. The Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003 is designed for tenements or groups of houses in small estates (less than 20 houses) with some community land. Duloch has estates of over 500 plots each and as there is no legal enforcement of communal areas the council needs to step in. as they are the ones who approved planning for large areas of communal land and have been adopting such land to a certain date and charge at least council band D in all of Duloch.

    Recommend?   Yes 4     No 3

  • ShirleyMac
    38 posts
    Sep 5, 21:00
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    There have been studies carried out regarding optimal class sizes. One such study here - http://www.classsizeresearch.org.uk/aera%2008%20paper.pdf - concludes that smaller class sizes benefit all pupils "in terms of individual, active attention from teachers" (page 25). This ties in with the Curriculum for Excellence, which is used throughout Scotland's schools; there is a good reason why the Scottish Government has guidelines for smaller class sizes in primaries 1 - 3. The study goes on to state that small class sizes also benefits pupils in secondary school.

    The closure of Pitcorthie Primary School would have far-reaching effects on not only the education of the children at all four schools involved but also the local communities surrounding these schools. To assume that the only people concerned are "some vocal parents and this local paper desperate to make a profit" is a very blinkered view.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 1

  • Interalia
    224 posts
    Sep 6, 10:36
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    Look at Glasgow. They halved the amount of primary schools over a 15 year period and that allowed them to build purpose built schools for the remaining. Each time there was a moan and grown from the parent (fair enough, but there is a bigger picture of new schools designed for teaching). Is Pitcorthie, a concrete box built in a hurry in the 1950's, fit for purpose or would you prefer children to go to other schools, freeing up money for new purpose built schools that allow children to thrive? Edinburgh and other councils are doing the same.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 2

  • ShirleyMac
    38 posts
    Sep 6, 14:27
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    The idea of new purpose-built schools would only apply if there was the money or the stated intention by Fife Council to build them. Given that neither of the aforementioned points apply, I'm afraid purpose-built schools is a straw man argument.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 2