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St Mungo's Consultation

There are only a couple of days left to make your views known to Clackmannanshire Council on the proposed permanent relocation of St Mungo's, Alloa to the Alloa Academy site. Please see the link below and the email address should you wish to write directly. The consultation document takes only a few minutes to fill in. Below the links, you will find a letter written to parishioners indicating just some of the reasons why we in the Diocese of Dunkeld disagree profoundly with the proposal.





Dear Parishioners

 

I hope you are still enjoying the blessings of this Easter season. Thank you for your continuing prayers and support as we await the appointment of a new bishop.

 

As you may know, Clackmannanshire Council has begun a consultation on the relocation of St Mungo’s RC Primary School to the Alloa Academy site. After the ongoing problem with water ingress, the school was decanted to Alloa Academy in April 2018 and in November of that year it was decided that the school would remain there for the medium term. The Council now wishes to make that arrangement permanent.

 

While we are grateful to the head teacher, staff, parents, and pupils of Alloa Academy, past and present, the Diocese of Dunkeld cannot support this proposal. We are also profoundly disappointed that this consultation process points in only one direction.

 

After discussions with the school, parent council, parish priest, and church representative, and following a visit from my delegate, Canon Tom Shields, during which he spoke with Colin Bruce, the Chief Education Officer, we have concluded that the Alloa Academy site is totally unsuitable for the housing of both Alloa Academy and St Mungo’s Primary School.

 

It is the experience of the Church in the Diocese, and throughout Scotland, that even where a shared or joint campus is intended from its inception to accommodate two school communities, usually of the same sector, there are tensions and problems to overcome. Alloa Academy was never intended to house two schools, one denominational and the other non-denominational, let alone a secondary and primary school. Each sector has very different needs. The layout of the building and grounds does not provide a nurturing atmosphere for young children. The Head Teacher and staff of St Mungo’s must be constantly on call throughout break times to make sure that the children can use facilities safely. The adaptations made by the Council, though welcome, do not go far enough. Nor are the benefits of the additional facilities provided by a secondary school obvious. There seems to be no real commitment to substantial funding that might radically change the present building or provide additional staff so that some of these concerns might be addressed.

 

A Catholic school must be able to pursue its rhythm of prayer and devotions, and have the opportunity within the school to celebrate Mass. Again, it is far from clear how any of this can be achieved within the existing or any proposed building layout. While I am sure this is not the intention, it appears to us in the Diocese that Clackmannanshire Council is not providing adequate provision for Catholic education in its proposal.

 

With all of this in mind, I ask you to do three things:

 

1.       That every one of you take part in the formal consultation process that Clackmannanshire Council has published. This can be found on the Council’s website. If you are not confident about taking part in an online survey, please let your parish priest know and he will suggest someone who can help.

 

2.       That you write to your local councillor making your views known and asking them what they intend to do about the situation. If you are not sure who your ward councillor is or how you should frame the questions, again the local parishes are there to help.

 

3.       That you talk about this issue with everyone you meet, in the shops, in the street, and whenever you get a chance. It is often the case that people don’t know what is going on unless they are directly involved.

 

Since the pioneering work of Fr James Donlevy and the generosity of the Calder family in 1874, the community of St Mungo’s has had a proud history of supporting Catholic education. With the 1918 Education (Scotland) Act, St Mungo’s was one of the many Catholic schools entrusted to the local authority. The Catholic community of Alloa and the County of Clackmannanshire have every right to expect a building and staffing provision that will not just facilitate basic education but inspire new generations in faith and learning.


Yours in Christ


Very Rev Kevin Canon Golden

Diocesan Administrator



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