July 2, 2008
Parent power forces Council U-turn
When Glasgow City Council closed the local school in Milton a few years ago, parents were promised that buses would be provided for the three mile journey to their children’s new school. In the last week of term, the Council announced that this service would be stopped in the next school session. In the space of a week, parents were able to mobilise a campaign against the cuts and succeeded in forcing Council officials into an embarrassing U-turn
Despite a major campaign by parents and locals, Saint Augustine’s Secondary School in Milton was closed a few years ago.
Milton kids instead were sent to All Saints Secondary in Barmulloch – almost three miles away.
The blow was made bearable by a promise of free school buses being laid on to take the Milton kids to and from All Saints.
The school closure would not have been approved otherwise.
But anti closure campaigners feared the promise would not be kept, and the buses withdrawn after the closure furore had died away.
Sure enough, on the 20th June 2008, parents were informed by letter that the school buses would be withdrawn at the end of term (June 2008). The timing was deliberately set to coincide with the school holiday, to make networking and campaigning more difficult. Nevertheless, a large campaign group of Milton parents was immediately formed and swung into action. They were to go and win one of the most rapid victories in Glasgow’s political history.
The parents were not prepared to accept children as young as 11 walking almost three miles each way throughout cold dark winters, across several main roads. The sad reality of gang fighting in Glasgow means that crossing territorial boundaries – and the Milton kids would have had to go through some or all of Possil, Springburn, and Barmulloch on their way to school – can be a dangerous activity for youths to undertake.
The reality of the situation was that school attendance would have collapsed amongst Milton children and youths. And the further reality was that that was of little interest to Glasgow City Council.
But determined campaigning, including plans for direct action, had an almost immediate effect upon those in power. On 27th June 2008, the Council announced a complete, and embarrassing, U-turn. The buses are to be kept, the £642,000 money rquired per year (for all Glasgow, not just Milton) was suddenly found.
It was victory within a single week!