Schools progress

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Progress is being made towards the provision of two new schools in Aberdeenshire.

Overcrowding and soaring rolls mean that Kinellar School needs to be replaced by a larger building on a new site in Blackburn, while a second primary is required at Kintore.

East Garioch councillor Martin Ford has been pressing Aberdeenshire Council to make a firm commitment to a new academy in Blackburn and a second primary in Kintore.

Councillor Ford, who is a member of the council’s education committee, said: “Forecast increases in the school rolls mean works needs to start as soon as possible on a second primary for Kintore and a replacement school in Blackburn.

“The council must make investment in new schools a priority. The forecast increase in the roll at Kintore School means a second school in Kintore is essential and cannot be delayed.

“Similarly, the existing Kinellar School is too small - it must be replaced.”

The local authority has started consulting users of the current schools in Blackburn and Kintore about what facilities would need to be included in new schools.

Council officials are projecting that building work on a new school in Kintore could start in spring, 2015, with opening for pupils from August, 2016.

Councillor Ford said: “It is a possible/maybe rather than a firm commitment for the academy at the moment. It is at a very early stage.”

He added that funding to build new schools in Kintore and Blackburn is not yet specifically identified in the council’s spending plans.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokeswoman said: “At Kintore, we are looking to provide a new primary school that could be developed on a site large enough to future-proof provision for an Academy in years to come.

“We are committed to ongoing consultation and engagement with stakeholders, parents, staff and communities regarding the delivery of the capital plan and the management of our school estate and updates will be provided to committee in due course.”