TWO Wee County primary schools which were earmarked for closure appear to have been saved after councillors gave assurances they would not be shut.

Coalsnaughton and Fishcross primary schools were included in last month’s budget proposal by Clackmannanshire Council and caused outrage among parents and the wider community.

Since then, families and villages have joined forces with the Advertiser to fight the potential closures – a battle which now edges towards success.

On Sunday evening, parents from both schools received an email from Councillor Graham Lindsay which said the council acknowledged how much the schools are “valued by the community”, which was shown by the “passion and determination” of the campaigners.

The councillor’s email went on to say: “I can confirm that the SNP council administration will not be considering the closure of Coalsnaughton/Fishcross Primary as part of our savings proposals.”

Despite the pledge, some parents are still not convinced at the announcement and say they will remain sceptical until the decision is made officially.

Kari Smith, of the Fishcross Parent Council, told the Advertiser the news is "promising", but are not preparing to celebrate just yet.

She said: “We did not get the email, actually. The Coalsnaughton parents did and emailed it to us, then we spoke to Graham Lindsay and he sent us the same email over that he sent them.

“The People Committee still needs to take place later on, so I’m not sure how to take it.

“Reading it from my point of view, I would say it is not 100 per cent safe, but it does look promising. I would not take it as 100 per cent gospel.”

Dawn Haddow, of the Coalsnaughton Parent Council, said that her group have received a number of calls since the initial email to congratulate them on their hard work.

She said: “We have had a few calls from different councillors to it is off the table and to congratulate us on all of our hard work.

“We’ve had calls from Labour, SNP and Conservative, the only one we’ve not had a call from is the independent councillor.

“We are just so delighted that our hard work has paid off and our great wee school will remain the heart of our community.”

While over the moon at the development, Dawn admitted that the U-turn came quicker than anyone expected.

She continued: “It is a surprise how quickly it has happened. We all thought it would happen eventually, but not so quickly. But we would obviously prefer here and now.

“We are now just waiting for the official confirmation.”

Council leader Ellen Forson reaffirmed what Councillor Lindsay said in a joint statement with Keith Brown MSP.

She said: “The reality is that while our overall budget from the Scottish Government has increased to £96.501million this year, costs pressures such as PPP schools payments, pay increases and pension commitments, have increased at a higher rate.

“Just like everyone’s household budget, if your cost outstrip your outgoings, you need to make changes.

“The budget announcement last week from the Scottish Government was one that we broadly welcome and will undoubtedly help us in continuing to provide key services and reducing the level of saving required.

“I welcomed the discussions with Keith about the budget options and I was able to provide him with assurances that the SNP administration will not include the closure of these schools within our budget proposals.”

Mr Brown added: "We had a very productive discussion about the options available and I was pleased to receive firm assurances that the SNP administration will not be taking forward proposals to close either Fishcross or Coalsnaughton Primary Schools.”

Green MSP Mark Ruskell also welcomed the news, which comes days after his party brokered a deal with the Scottish Government to release additional funds to local authorities.

He said: “I'm delighted that the Green budget deal has helped secure the future of Fishcross and Coalsnaughton Primary Schools.

“Greens put improving local government finance at the heart of budget negotiations, and that support, which included a funding package to help Clacks this year, has meant the council is able to keep both schools open.”

A Clackmannanshire Council statement simply reiterated its previous position.

It read: “The 2019-20 budget will be set when the full council meets in the coming weeks. No decisions have been taken yet.”