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School rolls on the rise at many Aberdeenshire schools

The Mearns Academy Community Campus
The Mearns Academy Community Campus

Aberdeenshire education chiefs are consider how to deal with fast-filling schools.

A number are predicted to be be over capacity within a handful of years, leading to extensions and efforts to control the number of new pupils.

Councillors on the Kincardine and Mearns area committee heard Mearns Academy and Portlethen Academy would both be over capacity by 2024.

Learning estates team leader Rachael Goldring said this was due, in part, to applications from the Angus and Aberdeen city council areas respectively.

She said: “We will seek to minimise this in the future.

“Increased capacity can lead to smaller study spaces and smaller breakdown spaces. We are in discussions on how to provide additional space.”

Councillors also heard that Hillside School has capacity to take 372 pupils, but faces a 2020 school roll of 419.

A four class extension is being built which will take the capacity to 509 pupils, with the new classrooms to be ready in August.

A review of the Hillside catchment area will also take place, should this be approved by the council’s education and children’s services committee next week.

This would help reduce the pressure on Hillside School as both Fishermoss School and Portlethen Primary.

A report to councillors stated: “The steps that are taken to address the capacity pressures will depend on the number of pupils and the length of time that the school roll is likely to exceed capacity.

“The tables also show schools that are currently operating at lower than 25% capacity – or are forecast to.

“These are schools operating significantly under capacity.”

A report on capacity will be taken to the education and children’s services committee on January 30.

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