Parents have been given their first glimpse at proposals to merge a north-east special needs school with a new academy.
Aberdeenshire Council has unveiled early plans to move St Andrew’s School onto the new Inverurie Community Campus.
Although they would be on a shared campus, St Andrew’s would have a separate entrance and classrooms, sensory rooms, therapy suites and changing toilets.
A parents’ consultation was held earlier this week, with the council reporting generally positive feedback.
But last night, some parents admitted they still had concerns that the facility would not cater for their children’s needs – with one claiming she felt “powerless” to fight the plans.
However, director of education and children’s services, Maria Walker said: “It’s important to stress that these are by no means the final plans for St Andrew’s School or the new campus as a whole.
“It’s important that the new facility caters for a wide spectrum of needs so there is a fine balance to be struck for the school as part of a campus setting.”
It is understood the capacity of the new school would be 88, with flexibility to increase it to around 100.
As part of the proposals, an outdoor play area will be created which could be shared – at the request of some parents who want their children to be able to mix – but other areas would just be for the St Andrew’s pupils.
One parent who attended the consultation welcomed the proposals and said it looked like a “first class facility”.
And Joanne Jamieson, whose son Rory attends the school, added: “I have spoken to parents and some love the plans and some are not so keen, but as long as we keep being consulted that is a good step.”
However, Elaine Anderson, whose son attends the school, was not convinced.
Her six-year-old son Luke, has a rare chromosome disorder called Isodicentric 15 and hypertonia, and does not speak. He has severe learning delays and needs round-the-clock care.
She said: “St Andrew’s means everything for us, we moved here to get him into that school, and I felt like I could relax until he was 18. I knew he was in a safe environment, happy, the school is amazing and it’s like a family there.
“I know the council are bringing this to us as a consultation, but there were no other plans to look at, no option A or B available, this is was the plans were so I feel railroaded into what the council want.”