Plans for a new nursery to resolve the “huge pressure” facing an over-capacity Aberdeenshire school have been revealed.
Aberdeenshire Council wants to build a new nursery in Insch, freeing up classroom space for school pupils.
The primary school is already at 95% capacity, and creating a purpose-built nursery would allow staff to revert the nursery rooms back into teaching space.
It comes after the Scottish Government committed all councils to doubling the amount of free hours available for three and four-year-olds from 600 to 1,140 hours by 2020.
They provided local authorities with revenue funding of an additional £567 million per year by 2021-22, the first full financial year of the expansion.
Councils also received total capital funding of £476m over four years to support buildings projects to create new indoor and outdoor capacity to deliver the expansion.
Now, as part of that funding, initial plans have been revealed for a new nursery in Insch.
Planning documents state: “The school is currently operating at 95% capacity with huge pressure on general purpose spaces in the school being used as classroom spaces, currently.
“Bringing these spaces back into school use will ease the pressure and ensure that children have access to the right environments to enhance their own learning opportunities.
“There are currently 117 children attending Insch School Nursery and it is anticipated that a new 80-place capacity provision would potentially offer around a total of 112 children a place, offering children in Insch the opportunity to access a full uptake of 1140 hours with any additional revenue cost.”
The council’s original intention was to create the new facility near the centre of the town, however the risk of flooding from the Valentine Burn was “much more severe” than anticipated.
The location then changed to north of Insch, to the east of Largie Road and immediately north of the Valentine Burn.
The vision for the new nursery has been inspired by modern educational facilities across the world, including Aldinga Library in Australia.
It is hoped a large outdoor shelter area and play space will increase learning opportunities through natural play, along with helping children understand their local habitats.