THE two Wee County primary schools that were earmarked for closure have moved one step closer to being formally saved after councillors responded to their petitions last week.

A representative from both Fishcross and Coalsnaughton primary schools addressed councillors at a People Committee meeting a fortnight ago as they both made impassioned pleas to have their kids’ schools open.

Zoe Bradie, speaking on behalf of Fishcross Parent Council, told the assembled councillors that the announcement of the potential closures in the budget proposals had “shocked and disgraced” everyone at the school.

Cheryl Orr, Coalsnaughton Parent Council, added that removing the school from the village would “rip the heart out of the area, and it would have nothing left”.

Councillor Graham Lindsay interjected to voice his support for both parents and their plight, saying: “I fully understand it must have been a very difficult time.”

Both mums then focused on the dangers of their children having to walk to different schools along busy roads, with Cheryl arguing it could “lead to fatalities”.

She also raised the issue of staff at Coalsnaughton primary, saying that some members of the teaching staff were now looking at other jobs because of the uncertainty that this has caused.

Councillor Martha Benny replied saying that she had spoken to a senior education officer who assured her that she was going to phone the school personally to give the staff “confirmations” about the closures.

In an official response from councillors, they set out three points to both schools.

The report recommended that councillors agree that both the Fishcross and Coalsnaughton schools are not closed as part of the budget for 2019-20 in the consultation.

It added that elected members should agrees that "the council’s education estate management strategy is further developed and that this is done in partnership with the school communities.”

The final point recognised an issue which both parent groups had continually raised, that the schools should never be shut because of a financial gain for the council, rather than education point of view.

It asks that councillors agree only to close schools if made on the basis of "educational merit, rather than as budget proposals”.

The new budget proposal is set to be announced today [Wednesday, March 6] without any mention of school closures, marking the end of a long campaign by the both groups of parents against the cuts.