Local politicians meet with Longhaven parents

Cllr Stephen Smith with Gillian Martin MSP at Longhaven School
Cllr Stephen Smith with Gillian Martin MSP at Longhaven School

East Aberdeenshire MSP Gillian Martin and Peterhead South & Cruden councillor Stephen Smith met with parents of pupils at closure-threatened Longhaven School on Saturday.

The MSP and councillor spent nearly two hours with parents listening to their concerns about the potential closure of their school and Aberdeenshire Council’s handling of the situation.

Education officials announced on Thursday that the council had been unable to recruit teaching staff for Longhaven meaning pupils will need to attend other local schools after the Easter break.

Commenting after the meeting, Cllr Stephen Smith said: “Parents have been left in a very difficult position by this. They have been given a matter of days to select an alternative school for their children to attend and have already encountered difficulties because headteachers at other schools have been unavailable or, in some cases, a parent is working offshore and is unable to visit the school.

“I still find it incredible that the council has allowed a situation to develop where they are telling parents their children must uproot themselves and start another school in the middle of the school year. This is unacceptable and I will be meeting officials on Monday to discuss the situation.”

Gillian Martin MSP added: “I feel very sorry for the parents and the children affected by this. I listened carefully to the parents’ account of events and it appears that Aberdeenshire Council’s handling of this situation has been nothing short of an absolute shambles.

“Serious questions need to be asked about how an Education Authority can allow a school to have no teachers. It’s quite incredible. The worry being expressed in the community is that this is a closure by stealth.

“The constituents who met with me seem determined to save their school and I will be supporting them 100 per cent in that.”