Bellshill MP’s warning over school merger plan

MP Tom Clarke joined the debate over schools merger.
MP Tom Clarke joined the debate over schools merger.
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Another MP has joined the opposition to North Lanarkshire Council’s controversial plans to merge Our Lady’s High School and Taylor High.

Veteran Labour member Tom Clarke, who represents Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, spoke out just days before the proposal to build a new school at Ravenscraig goes before councillors for a decision.

Frank Roy, Labour MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, and two party colleagues, MSPs John Pentland and Michael McMahon, slammed the plans shortly after they were made public earlier this year.

They backed parents worried about a school being built on land that could be contaminated. Other concerns include that education would suffer in a much bigger school with a role of 1,500.

Council education convener Jim Logue accused Mr Roy and the MSPs of interfering, saying they had no idea about the conditions that had prompted the merger plan.

Mr Clarke said some of his constituents with learning disabilities attend Bothwellpark High, based on the Our Lady’s campus, and are also affected.

He said: “I don’t usually get involved in local government matters, but this is too big to ignore. My worry is that officials’ views are simply accepted without question. I wonder if we are drifting in that direction over this proposal.”

Mr Clarke called on the ruling Labour councillors to ‘assert themselves’ and consider all views before making a decision on September 10.

Don’t forget, we’ll have full coverage of the crucial schools merger meeting in the Times & Speaker and on our website.