A primary school with just seven pupils is to close after councillors backed an education chief’s recommendations.
The closure of Glencorse Primary School in Penicuik was put to a public consultation by Midlothian Council last year.
Fiona Robertson, the council’s education head, said that 96 responses to the consultation survey were received in total, with 31 supporting the proposal to close the school and 64 against.
However, she said Education Scotland had backed the council’s view that closing Glencorse and moving the children to neighbouring Mauricewood or Roslin Primary Schools would improve their education.
The decision was opposed by some councillors, with Councillor Kelly Parry criticising the move to close the school during the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “It might be legal and it might have followed the correct process but it does not make it right.
“We are sitting in the middle of a pandemic and we are seriously talking about closing [the children’s] school.”
Councillor Parry raised concerns about a lack of engagement with parents at the school and the wider community over the decision.
She was backed by fellow councillor Debbi McCall, who said she had been told parents who wanted to enrol their children at Glencorse had been actively discouraged or told they could not.
She said: “It is almost as if there was a by-hell-or-high-water determination to close this school.”
The meeting heard that 78 children lived in the catchment for Glencorse but only seven pupils attended and no new primary one intake had been registered since 2017.
Councillor Russell Imrie backed the closure, hitting back at opposition to it by questioning how many of those people objecting “had the option to send their child to Glencorse and chose not to”.
The decision to approve recommendations to close Glencorse Primary School was approved by 12 votes to four.
Story by local democracy reporter Marie Sharp