The consultation on the site for a new Our Lady and St Patrick’s High (OLSP) finished in mid-November and the final report from the executive director will become public around December 18, in advance of the Education Committee on January 8.

The consultation sought feedback from statutory consultees such as the head teacher, the Archdiocese of Glasgow, and the school communities on two potential sites.

As expected there has been some public interest in the issue with an estimated 500 individual members of the public responding to the consultation.

Roughly one third of these supported building a school on the current site, another third supported building the school on Posties Park, and the other third expressed a variety of views, including the 123 individuals who responded to say ‘not Posties Park’.

The Save Posties Park supporters organised themselves and began their campaign in the spring, well before the actual formal consultation began.

They highlighted a variety of concerns such as the risk of landslides, the potential of finding unexploded bombs, the lack of lifebelts at the Quay and potential drowning of teenagers incapable of crossing a footbridge, and school children rampaging through Levengrove Park.

There are of course a number of challenges that need proper consideration by council officers such as access to public transport, planning policy issues, and the potential costs of a new footbridge, to mention but a few.

Most of the campaigning has been very reasonable and respectful, but for some it has been little more than an opportunity to peddle their own narrow agenda, often misrepresenting professional officers of the council and elected members who are simply carrying out the work directed by the education committee. This has been particularly disappointing but not entirely unexpected.

For me this consultation has been about one thing and one thing only — providing the current and future pupils of OLSP with the modern learning and teaching facilities equal to those currently enjoyed by all other secondary schools in West Dunbartonshire.

The pupils and teachers should not have to put up with inadequate facilities any longer than is absolutely necessary. I am sure that most reasonable people in Dumbarton, the Vale, and elsewhere would share this view.

This is fundamentally an educational issue and the Labour councillors have been absolutely consistent in our approach, and we will not make a decision until we had the full facts laid before us in a report.

We have still not yet made a decision on the location of the new school and we will take account of the facts and views expressed by all stakeholders, including members of the public.

However, as the consultation is likely to result in a diverse range of views,with no clear preference being expressed by the individuals who responded.This will make it particularly challenging for the committee and there will of course be a degree of mitigation to overcome the significant concerns that are identified, but whatever decision is taken will clearly result in disappointment for some.