FURIOUS parents have called plans to close a Cumbernauld school and nursery a “shambles”.

Families at Baird Memorial Primary and its Early Years Support Unit, which caters for children with additional needs, have reacted angrily to proposals by North Lanarkshire Council to merge the school with Condorrat Primary and create a new stand-alone Gaelic Medium Education (GME) hub.

Baird Memorial Parent Council secretary Susan Fullerton explained: “Everyone has been blindsided by this proposal, which appears to have come from nowhere.

“It’s very rushed – the council won’t make their final decision until May 2024, and there’s a Scottish Government requirement for an eight-week period during which ministers can ‘call in’ the application.

“We cannot wait until July to know where our children are going to school in August.”

She added: “Despite raising this with the council several times they refuse to alter their timescales. This causes more disruption for families, who have to submit their nursery preferences in December, and who have to register their children to start school, and order uniforms, in January. It is a shambles.”

The Parent Council at Baird Memorial, who have launched an online petition to oppose the plans, blasted North Lanarkshire Council for its “lack of transparency.”

Susan added: “We have asked the council for clarity, but all we get are vague answers, which only adds to the concern and apprehension we’re all feeling. After the disruption of the pandemic, this is the last thing our children need.”

Under the merger plans, children from Baird Memorial will transfer to Condorrat Primary and those at the ASN nursery will continue to attend until they reach school age.

“The nursery is purpose-built to support children with complex needs in our area,” said Susan. “If it closes, it will be lost forever, and surely we need more dedicated support, not less?”

North Lanarkshire Council’s consultation document says education benefits as a result of the merger will include “improved access to high quality facilities” and “improved outdoor learning”.

Susan added: “Baird is almost 20 years old and is graded A for its condition. Condorrat is 50 years old and is graded as a C for condition. How can that be a better option? And while Baird has a very green space along with our own forest area, Condorrat is primarily concrete and in a more built-up area.

“The council is using all these clever buzzwords like ‘educational benefits’ without any evidence to back them up.”

READ NEXT: 'Disappeared without trace': Photos of long-lost Glasgow areas captured in book

Baird Memorial opened in 1977, named in honour of Scottish revolutionary John Baird, who was brought up in Condorrat. Its distinctive uniform includes its own specially-made tartan.

Susan said: “We will lose our beloved tartan and magenta uniform. The new Gaelic school will be rebranded and Condorrat have their own uniform, so it feels really unfair that Baird’s identity will be lost.

 “Some people might say, who cares? But we care, and Cumbernauld should care. We’re really proud of our school’s history.”

A North Lanarkshire Council spokesperson said: "The consultation allows all parents, carers, pupils, staff and the local community to have their views heard on the proposals.  

"We have a dedicated page on our website, which is regularly updated to provide people with information based on their requests, and we are holding information sessions for people to provide their opinions and ask questions directly. 

"Once the consultation closes on December 18, we will provide a report which will include a summary of all views and will provide the basis for the recommendation for councillors to decide on at the Education & Families Committee in May 2024.”

The information sessions will take place on November 28 at Baird Memorial Primary and on November 30 at Condorrat Primary, from 6pm until 8pm and can be booked through the council website.