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SCOTS SECRETARY REJECTS SCHOOL SELF-GOVERNING PROPOSALS

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The school boards of Scotsburn Primary, Lieurary Primary and Rockwell High School Boards have been informed that Sc...
The school boards of Scotsburn Primary, Lieurary Primary and Rockwell High School Boards have been informed that Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth has rejected their proposals for self-governing status.

A sample of the text of the letters sent to each board, is attached.

CONSIDERATION OF SELF-GOVERNING STATUS: ROCKWELL HIGH SCHOOL

The secretary of state has considered the proposals for acquisition of self-governing status for Rockwell High School, Lawton Road, Dundee, as published and presented to him by the School Board on 2 August 1996.

He has consulted the school board as regards the possible rejection of the proposals, as required by section 19(1) of the Self-Governing Schools etc. (Scotland) Act 1989. This consultation was carried out by the department's letter to the board of 20 December 1996 and by consideration of the written response by the board sent on 17 January 1997.

In exercise of the powers conferred on him by section 19(1)(a) of the 1989 Act, the secretary of state hereby rejects the board's self- governing proposals.

In reaching his decision the secretary of state has considered the relevant representations made to him under section 18(3) of the 1989 Act and the response of the school board upon consultation.

He has taken into account the percentage that the total votes cast in the ballot constituted of the total number of persons eligible to vote, namely 61.9%, and the percentage that the votes in favour of self- governing status constituted of the total votes, namely 93.5%.

He has reached his decision on the merits of the particular case, having regard to the implications of Rockwell High School obtaining self- governing status: for the school itself, for the provision of secondary education in the area, and for public expenditure.

He notes that there is substantial over-provision of educational accommodation in Dundee City Council's area; that the council have identified 6,102 surplus secondary school places; and that the council has proposed the possible closure of a number of schools, including the merger of Rockwell High School and Kirkton High School in order to reduce that surplus capacity.

The secretary of state notes that the school board passed a first resolution on 27 March 1996 and a second resolution 25 April 1996 calling for a ballot of parents on the question of self-governing status for Rockwell High School, after the council's consultation process on the merger of the schools had begun, but before the council had taken a decision on whether they should be merged.

Following notification from the board that such a petition had been received, the council took no decision on the merger of the schools. The ballot on whether to seek self-governing status was therefore held in circumstances where the alternative to self-governing status was possible closure of Rockwell High School as consequence of the merger with Kirkton High School.

Against this background, the secretary of state considers that if Rockwell became aself-governing school, this would obstruct Dundee City Council's plans for rationalisation of secondary school provision in their area and could commit him to financing over-provision of accommodation at the school, and to any capital expenditure which the school would require in the future.

In addition, the secretary of state considers that all of the educational, social and other factors involved in relation to this case indicate that Rockwell would not be able to function effectively as a self-governing school.

The secretary of state takes the view that these considerations against the board's proposals outweigh the considerations in favour.

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