SHE'S waded through crocodile-infested rivers, escaped drug traffickers and conquered the Andes mountains.

Now Julie McElroy, who has cerebral palsy, is taking on Glasgow City Council in a bid to save her old school.

Julie's condition means she has problems walking and also has speech, hearing and co-ordination impairments.

But that hasn't stopped her from campaigning to raise awareness of what people with cerebral palsy can achieve, and in 2007 she featured in BBC documentary Beyond Boundaries which charted an adventurous trip into South America's most intimidating mountains.

Julie is now leading a fight to save her old special school, Richmond Park in the city's South Side, which could be merged with Kelbourne School, in the West End under plans currently being considered by the council.

A consultation into the proposed shake-up of special schools in Glasgow begins today and Julie wants people to make their views known.

Julie, 23, of Jordanhill said: "Some older schools are not efficient and accessible nor fit for purpose. But this does not apply to Richmond Park, it is designed specially for physically disabled children.

"I would also think children would be in distress through the upheaval of changing to a new environment.

"Richmond Park does a great service which no other school like it provides and I hold the school in a very high regard when it comes to getting me to where I am today."

Julie doubts that the new merged school would be able to provide the specialist services which made a massive difference to her life.

And she fears that the vibrant community of her old school - to which she is still strongly connected - is going to be lost in the shake-up.

Julie added: "Richmond Park has always had a community feel there is something unique and wholly outstanding about this school.

"In my time there I had many fantastic teachers, many of whom I still keep in touch with today.

"I am keen to support Richmond Park School so it can remain a base for physically disabled children.

"Everyone who has concerns or opinion about Richmond Park should voice their concerns. It can only open the debate into the wider public domain so that we can get officials to see what the council are doing to special needs education.

"It is vital that Richmond Park remains as it is and staffed as it is. The staff are qualified to the highest level to meet with the individual needs of children, physically and mentally."

Councillor Jonathan Findlay, executive member for education, said: "The council is taking the potential impact on each child at each of the schools involved in the consultation very seriously indeed.

"A cross-party monitoring group of senior councillors has been formed to oversee the consultation process and, if the proposals are agreed, any transitional arrangements.

"The group will meet for the first time today and will receive input from education and social work services, as well as the NHS.

"The monitoring group will also ensure the views and concerns of parents and carers of these vulnerable children are taken into account.

"It is envisaged that by merging, relocating and investing in these schools, they will be better able to meet the needs of our most vulnerable children." Information about the consultation is now on the council's website. Visit Planned changes

THE council has launched a consultation on the following changes: Richmond Park School and Kelbourne School to merge during session 2009/2010 and that children transfer to the new school in the Kelbourne School building during session 2009/2010. Hampden School to be relocated into the former Richmond Park School building following the merger of Kelbourne School and Richmond Park School. Greenview School to be relocated into the Hampden School building and will continue as a Learning Centre. Nerston Residential School to be closed during session 2009/2010 and the children to transfer to Greenview School.

The council's consultative document will be made available to interested parties, including Parent Councils, Student Councils, Staff, Trade Unions and Community Planning Partners.

To request a copy, call 0141 287 4327. All interested parties are invited to make written - or e-mail - submissions on the proposal to the Service Director: Education, Wheatley House, 25 Cochrane Street, Glasgow, G2 1HL, no later than November 11. Pupils celebrate the move into £7.1m start-of-the-art school Pupils Morgan McWilliams, Kyle Martin and Niamh Brogan mark the occasion in style

By Catriona Stewart EXCITED youngsters in Glasgow are celebrating the opening of their £7.1million school.

St Bernard's Primary's latest campus in Nitshill replaces the crumbling former St Bernard's and St Robert's primaries as well as housing Woodacre Nursery.

And St Bernard's headteacher Margaret Winters said the move couldn't come coon enough.

She said: "In the old building water came in through the walls and when the wind blew a certain way it was freezing. It was hard to keep the children motivated.

"This new school is fantastic."

The two schools first merged in 2006 when the St Bernard's pupils moved into the St Robert's building, which was set on fire three times. Vandals also smashed windows and the building was repeatedly broken into.

But now the pupils have 12 state-of-the-art classrooms, two general purpose rooms, a synthetic seven-a-side pitch and an ICT suite with 30 computers.

Primary seven pupils Scott Hunter and Chantelle Penglase, both 11, are thrilled to complete their final year in the new building.

Scott, from Nitshill, said: "The new school is cool and the classrooms are huge."

Chantelle, from Priesthill, said: "We have loads of new equipment."

Linda Huisman, acting head teacher of Woodacre Nursery, said her young charges were also excited by the move. She said: "The children love their new surroundings."