THE provost of West Lothian has resigned from the board of Scotland’s national deaf school after its nursery was axed from an official council list of pre-schools offering funded places to families.
In a letter to parents of current and former pupils at Donaldson’s School nursery in Linlithgow, Councillor Tom Kerr revealed his action had come after council officers failed to notify him and other elected members of the decision.
Parents have been left furious after education bosses opted to strip the “sector leading” nursery of partnership status, meaning it is no longer able to offer them the part-time free places scheme put in place by the Scottish Government.
In his letter, Cllr Kerr said: “The first knowledge I had of the withdrawal of the contract was when I was contacted by parents. Having spoken to senior West Lothian council officers it is clear that myself as a Donaldson’s board member, Cllr John McGinty [council leader] and Cllr Lawrence Fitzpatrick [education spokesman] should have been made aware of the decision prior to it going out to the school.
“Notwithstanding the aforementioned, we would not have been able to intervene in the decision. As a consequence of this, I have resigned from the Donaldson’s board.”
Parents welcomed the development, saying it was a sign of “concern” over the decision.
Judy Vickers, 43, whose three-year-old son, Eric, attends the nursery, said: “Parents were quite surprised but we are hoping it’s a good sign and that there’s concern within the council about what has happened.
“I understand that Donaldson’s is in a very positive dialogue with the council – there are no guarantees but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
Mary Mulligan, convener of the board of Donaldson’s Trust, said: “It is with regret that we lose Tom Kerr from the board. He has made it clear this is entirely due to the decision by the council on the nursery and the way in which the council has handled it. Naturally, I will be asking Tom to reconsider his decision as I greatly value his experience and contribution to our board.”
West Lothian Council bosses said they could not comment on the situation during the “legal standstill”, or review, period, which has been extended until January 29.