No bones about saving Crawfordjohn School

Crawfordjohn Primary School'11/8/09'Picture by Lindsay Addison
Crawfordjohn Primary School'11/8/09'Picture by Lindsay Addison

THERE is relief in a remote Clydesdale village after fears that its ancient dead might have spelled doom for its tiny primary school.

Doubts were thrown on the very future of Crawfordjohn Primary School when works to modernise it were held up by the surprise discovery of an ancient burial site under the Victorian building.

This means that, while the rest of South Lanarkshire Council’s schools modernisation programme went on apace, the wee school, with a roll this year of only nine pupils, was held in limbo as archaeologists studied the old bones to decide the historical importance of the grisly find.

Now the council has decided to go ahead with the modernisation but with a further delay while it works out how to carry it out without obliterating evidence of ancient Scottish history.Pupils have been decanted to Abington since modernisation began and it looks as if they’ll be spending a further two years there.

South Lanarkshire Council’s education committee heard a report from officials that said that, when the works ground to a halt, the parents and carers of the pupils were asked if they wanted just to see the end of a Crawfordjohn Primary and make the decant to Abington a permanent merger.

The report said: “The conclusion of this consultation was that they supported continuation and modernisation of the school.”

So be it, said the council’s education committee, but there will be further delays, the report explaining:

“The original design and location on the site of the new Crawfordjohn School cannot now be delivered. Specifically, the design included two external walls of the school which were demolished to conclude the archaeological works. Building new walls at this location could require further disruption to the adjacent cemetery. A revised design proposal is required.”

This means works will not re-start until next year and the new school not ready until 2013.

The fact that it will survive at all was celebrated this week by local councillor, Bev Gauld. He said: “I’m absolutely delighted at the decision.”