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Councillors have agreed a plan to meet the needs of children and young people from August after agreeing the temporary re-location of the Clackmannanshire Support Service (CSS) for both primary and secondary education. The agreement came at a special council meeting today (10 July).
Structural issues were identified with the Secondary Support Building at Bedford Place which has resulted in the building having to be closed in the medium term. Councillors agreed proposals put forward to relocate both primary and secondary support services to the former St Bernadette’s Primary School building to ensure that the Council meets its statutory education obligations when schools return in August.
Council also heard about the delay in building work to expand the existing Park Nursery to create the additional space required to accommodate the nursery and P1 and P2 classes. This delay, which was due to be finished before the start of summer, has been caused by the suspension of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
This means that Council had to re-locate two extra P1 classes from August, and following detailed work, councillors agreed that the only viable option available was to create capacity for the P1 classrooms by temporarily relocating the Primary Support Service from Park Primary School to St Bernadette’s Primary School.
Further consideration is now being given to future options for the wider learning estate strategy which was approved by Council in December 2019. These options will come before council at a later date.
Refurbishment work will be taking place at the former St Bernadette’s building over the summer to ensure the accommodation meets the learning needs of pupils.
An update on the ABC Nursery building was also provided to Council. In line with the Scottish Government’s Route Map to Recovery, the inspection regime has now been able to be re-established. The Council’s consultant structural engineer has advised that, on completion of some minor additional structural strengthening works, the ABC nursery can be safely re-opened between August and October.
A further report on options beyond October will be presented to Council at the end of July.
Councillor Graham Lindsay, the Council’s Education spokesperson, said: “The position we are in is not ideal and those families affected will be quite rightly concerned about the ongoing education of their young people.
“Our priority is to provide high quality learning experiences in safe and secure buildings, and extensive issues have been identified with the Bedford Place building. At the same time, the shutdown which was necessary to protect all our communities from Covid-19 meant that the planned work to expand Park Primary has not been able to take place, resulting in a lack of capacity.
“Given the timescales and limited options available, we have had to take action and make decisions which will ensure we meet our statutory requirements and our young people receive the education they need. This will mean that from August, the primary and secondary support services will temporarily re-locate to the former St Bernadette’s building.
“Work will be ongoing during the summer to ensure the building is ready to provide the same high quality learning that families are used to and I thank everyone for their understanding as we move quickly to organise this move. Further updates will be provided by officers, which will be shared with parents and carers.”