Kirktonholme Primary heads removed over religious row

South Lanarkshire Council has launched an investigation

Senior teachers at a South Lanarkshire school have been removed following a parent outcry over the involvement of a US-based religious group.

Some parents at Kirktonholme Primary in East Kilbride have labelled the Church of Christ extremist.

South Lanarkshire Council has now redeployed the two officials who shared the head teacher post.

The authority also said it had launched "a full investigation into management practices at the school".

Controversy over the Church of Christ's involvement with Kirktonholme Primary was highlighted in national newspaper articles.

'Full investigation'

Some parents were reported to have been outraged that their children were given books at an assembly questioning evolution and highlighting the church's own religious viewpoints.

The authority held a meeting with concerned parents on Tuesday, after which the decision was taken to redeploy Sandra McKenzie and Liz Mockus, the school's two head teachers.

In a statement, South Lanarkshire's education director Jim Gilhooly said: "As indicated to parents, a full investigation into the management practices within the school has been instigated.

Start Quote

It was clear that everyone was keen to see the school move on from the current situation”

End Quote Jim Gilhooly South Lanarkshire's education director

"In order to assist with this, the current head teachers have been moved from the school and redeployed to other duties within education resources, with immediate effect.

"A temporary senior management team has been put in place.

"The council will continue to work with the parents to ensure that Kirktonholme Primary School now moves forward with educating and caring for the community's children."

Mr Gilhooly confirmed the changes at the school in a letter to parents on Thursday.

He told them that West Mains Church of Christ would no longer be given access to Kirktonholme or any other local schools.

The education director said the investigation would look at security at the school and the role of the parent council and school chaplaincy service.

In his letter to parents, Mr Gilhooly concluded: "In my discussions with the parent council, and during the larger parent meeting, it was clear that everyone was keen to see the school move on from the current situation.

"Hopefully these initial actions help to achieve this and I want to assure you that the safety and education of your children are paramount in all of our minds.

"Finally, please also be assured that I will continue to inform you of decisions relating to your school."

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