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  • Save Our Schools

    Last Updated : 09 January 2008. Skip to Latest News...

    As part of a PPP initiative Midlothian Council announced on 26th February 2004 that they planned to close 5 rural primary schools in June 2004 - Borthwick, Cousland, Cranston, Howgate and Temple primary schools. On 20th May 2004, Midlothian Council decided the future of these 5 rural schools along with another 16 schools and nurseries.

    In 12 weeks, the Midlothian Rural Schools Action Group (MRSAG) was formed and launched a high profile campaign to save the rural schools from closing. Hundreds of people have tirelessly campaigned against these closures. The campaign has been covered worldwide on TV, radio and in the press. Cross-party political support was achieved from our local MSPs. A petition of 5000 names was presented to the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee. A march and rally was held in Dalkeith where 800 supporters showed the strength of feeling in our communities. Numerous meetings and public events were held and we have the support of people from all walks of life, from ALL communities in Midlothian. This is not just an issue that affects rural areas.

    At a full council meeting on 20th May, the Midlothian Labour Group announced their decisions on the schools' programme. The decisions affecting the 5 rural schools were as follows :

    • All 5 schools will close, Howgate in June 2004, the rest when new schools are built.
    • Cousland and Cranston will go to a new school at Pathhead.
    • Borthwick and Temple will go to a new school at Middleton.

    Since that meeting, Howgate Primary School has closed. A new consultation period took place, tenders were invited and Skanska Quayle Munro were announced as the preferred bidders in September 2005. In January 2006, Midlothian Council announced that the project was running 12-18 weeks behind schedule and the proposed handover of the North Middleton School (Borthwick and Temple) would take place in Summer 2007. Although the campaign to save our schools is over, we continue to monitor the progress of the project to ensure the original objectives of the council are met.

    The sorts of issues we have experienced through our campaign are being echoed throughout the UK as communities battle to save their own schools. We regularly receive emails asking for advice or comment and are always happy to respond. We continue to publish this website in the hope that other campaigns may benefit from our own experiences.

    Further details of these issues and our campaign can be found on this website. A more detailed history of this campaign can be found here.

    News and website updates

    If you have any news stories, suggestions or if you want to send your comments for possible publication here, please contact us or use the feedback form.

    Date Description
    24/10/2007 Temple and Borthwick Primary Schools closed on 11 October 2007,. The new school, Moorfoot Primary School opened on 24 October 2007.
    01/02/2006 We received an email today regarding a school campaign in Sutton-under-whitestonecliffe (North Yorkshire). For 10 years they had been working towards getting a new school by raising funds, purchasing land and having plans approved. A small number of locals were against their campaign and employed a top London barrister to go through the plans - last week their planning application was refused. Although the circumstances of their campaign is different to ours, their need for a small rural school in their community is the same. We wish them well with their campaign!
    26//01/2006 Borthwick and Temple Primary Schools - The PPP Project is now running 12-18 weeks behind schedule. In order to avoid disruption of a mid-session change, completion and handover of the North Middleton school will take place during the summer holiday period 2007.
    25/10/2005 Added - latest media articles.
    11/10/2005 Over the past year or so, we have had contact from many areas of the UK regarding rural school closures. Recently we shared our experiences with Share (Save Hurworth and Rural Education) who are campaigning to save Hurworth Maths and Computing School in the Darlington Borough - their local MP is Tony Blair! You can read more of their campaign at www.sharehurworth.co.uk. - we hope a solution is found to meet the needs of their community.
    11/10/2005 The Joint School Boards of Borthwick and Temple have issued a newsletter informing parents and the community about the current status of the school programme. You can view the newsletter from the Temple Village Community Website or here: Newsletter - Plans.
    09/09/2005 Midlothian Council selects preferred bidder for Schools Plus Programme - Skanska.
    24/05/2004 We received contact over the weekend from an action group in Pembrokeshire where their council are proposing to close the local primary school. The campaign has been underway since 2002 and they are currently taking their council to the high court for a judicial review and are even getting legal aid. Their website contains details of their efforts so far.
      A full list of all news updates and website changes can be found here.