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Time for community to have its say on Fraserburgh super-school

Here's what you need to know about Fraserburgh's proposed super-school. Picture by Chris Sumner
Here's what you need to know about Fraserburgh's proposed super-school. Picture by Chris Sumner

Locals will get a chance to shape the future of primary schools in Fraserburgh next week.

With an informal engagement period well under way, Aberdeenshire Council is after community input ahead of a planned £18.2 million super-school project.

Under the proposed plans, Fraserburgh North and St Andrews Schools will close. In their places, there will be a new school combining both primaries at the current Fraserburgh Academy site.

Community members are invited to fill out a survey ahead of a public meeting to be held at 6pm on Wednesday May 11 at the St Andrews Infant building.

With a week to go before the meeting, let’s look at what we know about the project so far.

Why do we need a new primary school in Fraserburgh?

Capacity isn’t an imminent issue at either location, according to our recent study of school capacities across the north and north-east.

Fraserburgh North is operating well below capacity at just 47%. By 2026, council projections show the roll could fall to as low as 34%, or 74 pupils. St Andrews is currently at 78% capacity and could see an increase to 91%, or 390 pupils, by 2026.

The new £18.2 million campus will house about 450 pupils from P1-P7.

Both schools are still well-loved in the community, but local councillor Brian Topping said that it’s past time for upgrades.

“These buildings have served the community exceptionally well over a long, long time.

“But they are getting to be quite outdated for the needs of modern learning.”

Fresh start preferred to a facelift

Both schools recently received B grades for overall condition and suitability. But St Andrews earned a C for accessibility, with Fraserburgh North further behind with a D.

Council hopes to close St Andrews Primary school and combine it with Fraserburgh North to create a new school on Fraserburgh Academy campus. Picture by Chris Sumner.

According to council reports, both schools have hard play surfaces, narrow corridors, two floors and few ramps. All of this contributes to lower accessibility ratings.

But council reports say that it would be difficult to fully refurbish or enhance either school.

In the case of Fraserburgh North, one council report said there is “little prospect of ever being able to refurbish or enhance the current School to achieve a grade A in suitability”.

Where is the new school going to go?

Instead of costly refurbishments, the council’s preferred option now is to close Fraserburgh North and St Andrews and build a new school at Fraserburgh Academy.

Council initially considered four site options, including areas that were outside of Fraserburgh town centre and one that was outside of all current primary catchment zones.

Aberdeenshire Council considered four possible sites around the town for the new Fraserburgh Primary School. Supplied by Aberdeenshire Council

Instead, officers recommended the Academy site because it is centrally located and already council property.

Plans show a section of the campus to the north where the new primary school could fit.

A section to the north of the current Fraserburgh Academy is the preferred site for a new primary school. Supplied by Aberdeenshire Council

How will this affect other Fraserburgh primary schools?

The transformation project will also include a rezoning of all primaries around Fraserburgh.

That means that there could be changes to who attends nearby Lochpots and Fraserburgh South Park Schools.

Primary schools around Fraserburgh will be rezoned when the new primary school is built. Supplied by Aberdeenshire Council

Council reports show that the rezoning will focus on making use of the space at South Park to keep the new primary within its 450-pupil capacity target.

Take the survey

The council’s online survey is open to community members until Monday May 16 at 4pm.

You’ll also have a chance to share your thoughts in person next Wednesday. The public consultation will be held on May 11 at 6.00pm at St Andrews Infant School Building in Fraserburgh.

Read more from the Schools & Family team

Council U-turn: New head teacher appointed at Lochpots in Fraserburgh

We Need to Talk About Balmedie: Where are hundreds of extra kids going to be taught?

How long can your child go without screen time? I put it to the test and results were surprising

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