Overcrowding at an Aberdeen school has reached such a high level even the janitor’s lodge could be converted into classrooms.
Pupils at St Peter’s RC Primary on Dunbar Street are already studying in the library, temporary huts in the playground and rooms in the nearby Old Aberdeen House, which is used for storing archives.
But with the roll for the coming term expected to rise to 261, the former janitor’s lodge could even be turned into a learning space.
It is understood demand has increased due to the number of Eastern Europeans moving to the city, who want their children to go to a Roman Catholic school.
This week, the council’s education committee – who were told in 2013 the roll would fall to 219 by 2015 – will consider a report looking at ways to utilise more of the space at Old Aberdeen House this week.
The property is primarily occupied by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire archives team.
The new report states: “Due to continued increases in the pupil roll at the school over a number of years, the library and general purpose room in the main building are currently also used as classrooms.
“This leaves very limited ancillary space for staff and pupils to use for general purpose activities, such as musical instrument tuition for example, or for small group work or extra teaching support to be provided to individual pupils.
“After receiving notification from colleagues that the janitor’s lodge had become vacant, officers have made arrangements for the building to be transferred to education and children’s services.
“The school is currently considering the ways in which the building can be used to best effect.
“Officers have identified a potential opportunity to convert a fourth room on the first floor of Old Aberdeen House into a classroom, which would help to relieve the capacity pressures in the main school building. This room is currently used to store archive materials under controlled conditions.”
But the SNP’s education spokesman, David Cameron, described the lodge idea as a “sticking plaster” and said a “more permanent” solution was needed to tackle overcrowding.
He said: “St Peter’s has been overcrowded for a number of years and we don’t seem to be getting to the root of the problem.
“The council now are going to do something for this August, but we don’t know about next August or the August after.
“My big worry is that the building is not adequate for the number of pupils – the size of play area must be nearly non-existent with the huts. The children are losing out on needed facilities like the library as well.
“We have to do the best we can with the resources we have but I think a long-term plan is needed.”
Lib Dem Martin Greig, who is on the education committee, claimed the council had “no plan” for the ageing granite schools in the city while also facing increasing demand.
He said: “The school has suffered too long from the pressures imposed from a lack of classrooms. This is a popular and highly regarded school.
“But this is just one of the granite schools we have under pressure and sadly there is no plan in place to deal with the increasing pressure.”
But education convener John Wheeler said: “The plan for this report is to address the ongoing capacity issues ahead of August.
“Officers are looking into other option for the longer term capacity issues.
“There has been a big increase into the school rolls in recent years and if the trend for more parents seeking Catholic
education continues into the future then we need to look at long term solutions for that.”