School relocation plan agreed

St Andrews School
St Andrews School

Members of the Education and Children’s Services Committee have agreed that St Andrew’s School will be relocated within the new Inverurie Campus.

Members of the ECS Committee considered all the views of parents and stakeholders as part of an extensive consultation into the relocation.

The committee was first addressed by the chair of the parent council, concerned about class sizes in the new premises and concerns about a lack of outdoor space.

She then laid out alternative options for the estate and encouraged the committee to think creatively about the existing site.

It was noted that a number of options were considered at earlier stages but the preferred option which emerged from engagement was relocation.

Members were also assured that there would be no change to pupil or teacher ratios with more flexibility built into the design layout that at present.

The report discussed by members outlines that proposed new-build St Andrew’s School will be a distinct facility, with a distinct management and staffing structure. Despite being co-located these schools would have distinct identities. The community campus model will provide the full level of Additional Support Needs provision for pupils with specific needs.

A number of points raised during the consultation also led to changes to the design being adapted.

A further amended recommendation was put forward to establish a working group in the community to take the plans for ward in partnership, which was agreed.

Following significant debate it was agreed to progress with the plans, in partnership with this steering group made up of parents and stakeholders as well as officers, in the best interests of the pupils.

Chair of the committee Cllr Gillian Owen said: “I am reassured that we gave this full consideration and the committee listened to very passionate opinions on both sides. It was reassuring to see the levels of engagement and the lengths that officers have gone to in order to get views locally on the relocation of St Andrews School. We consider it important to make sure that true inclusion means taking pupils with a full range of needs right into the heart of a community hub. This committee will remain close to the working group which is being established to seek ongoing reassurance that this project will continue in an inclusive and open manner.”

Cllr Alison Evison, opposition education spokesperson for the Labour/SNP grouping, added: “Everyone at Committee was united by the wish to do the very best for the pupils at St Andrews. However we could see that parents are anxious about outcomes for their children. While being supportive of the relocation of St Andrews School, we want to ensure that parents will be involved with the project going forward so that they can continue to represent the interests of their children. We don’t want any issue to be overlooked.”