A new £10million super school could be built in a north-east town to provide education for up to 450 children.
Parents have been given the first look at an ambitious scheme to replace Fraserburgh’s North and St Andrews primary schools with a modern facility next to the port’s academy.
The project, which was unveiled at a meeting between parents and the council last week, would site a new school in the town for the first time in more than three decades – and replace buildings more than 100-years-old.
An option for a nursery has also been tabled by planners, but its location would be dependent on public feeling and the authority’s resources.
One proposal is to re-purpose St Andrews Primary School’s building to form the new nursery, while another is to create it within the site of the new school itself, off Dennyduff Road.
The footprint of the proposed building, which would also create 60 more parking spaces at Fraserburgh Academy for teachers, would remain the same in both proposals.
Early drawings suggest that the new, two-storey property would occupy 160,000sqft.
Local councillor Charles Buchan has been campaigning for three years to have a new school built in the town.
And yesterday the vice-chairman of the authority’s education committee said he believed that the new build could even raise attainment.
Mr Buchan said: “If we leave things as they are, we will have a lot of work that needs to be done – it could be easier to just build a new school.
“North and St Andrews are really old schools and they aren’t fit for 21st century education. In terms of their insides, the layout is not conducive to modern teaching approaches and they are not in good condition at all.
“It’s likely that standards would improve in a new school, too, if only because of the physical environment.”
A “bare-bones” new school is expected to cost the council at least £10million to construct.
One parent from St Andrews Primary School branded the idea “good”, although had not heard that the consultation process had started.
The dad-of-two, who did not want to be named, has a son attending the school.
“It depends what the cheapest option is,” he said.
“But they need to be educated in the best way possible, and if they need a new building so be it.”
Isobel McDonald, chairwoman of the St Andrews Primary School parent council, said her concern was that the schools would be left to fall into disrepair while any new facility is built.
“I can’t see why any parent wouldn’t want a brand new school for Fraserburgh – we always want the best for our childrens’ education,” she said.
“But regarding St Andrews, we have been telling the council for some time that something needs to be done about the canteen facilities – it can only seat 80 children at a time.
“Any new school is going to be a few years down the line and my concern is that they won’t do anything to improve the existing schools. We could get a generation of children growing up in schools that are not fit for purpose.”
Last night, a spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council stressed that just because the options were “on the table”, it did not mean that a school would be built.
The authority’s head of resources and performance, Craig Clement, added: “Following earlier engagement, we are examining the possible merger of the Fraserburgh North and St Andrews schools into a new build, with a rezoning of the Fraserburgh network to equally distribute school places to ensure schools are fit for purpose and to meet the needs of pupils in the 21st century.
“The options involve a new build primary school on the current academy site with an option of nursery provision to be included within the new primary school, or offsite in an enhanced St Andrews infant building. Existing nursery provision in other schools across the network will not be affected.
“Further engagement with parents and the community will take place to further refine the options.”
Parents have until March 31 to provide comments on the scheme.
Opportunities to engage with the consultation process are available at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/52K2ZHS or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org