Parents in the north-east are being advised to apply for their preferred school for their child – including facilities that are currently mothballed.
Aberdeenshire council has indicated it remains open to the idea of reopening two recently-closed schools, should there be sufficient demand.
The applications being sought are for children who will start primary one this August in the region’s schools.
Council officials have issued a statement reminding everyone that all schools are open to applications, including Strachan School and Longhaven Primary School.
Strachan School near Banchory closed for the summer holidays in 2017 and was not reopened due to a shortage of pupils.
Longhaven, near Peterhead, was mothballed after the October holidays following a continuous struggle by the council to secure a new head teacher.
Despite this, each school is available for parents to apply for as, when mothballed, a school can become operational again if there are sufficient pupils on the roll to make educational experiences viable and ensure children receive the broad curriculum they are entitled to.
Councillor Gillian Owen, chair of the education and children’s services committee, said: “The schools were mothballed but if people within the area want to send their children there then they can request their children to go to that school.
“There’s no reason why they can’t apply.
“Mothballing is quite literally just a temporary closure and until we go through a statutory process these schools are still available.
“I’m not sure how many people would actually want to put their child to a school that has been mothballed though.”
Parents of children due to start primary or nursery school in Aberdeenshire in August should enrol at their school of choice during January by picking up applications from the school.
Aberdeenshire Council statement reads: “We’d like to remind everyone ALL schools are open to applications, including those which are currently mothballed.
“Officers are currently reviewing the position at Longhaven and Strachan.
“The number of applications received in January will form part of this.
“As these are both rural schools there is a presumption against closure and Aberdeenshire Council must ensure that all other alternatives have been identified and robustly considered prior to undertaking any statutory consultation on this matter.”
It also states that engagement with the communities will continue.
Quality improvement manager for Learning Estates, Maxine Booth, added: “To assess if a school is viable, ensuring educational benefit to all, we consider peer groups, projected school rolls for future years, alternative local provision and the impact on the community.
“We will consider all available information in planning for the future of both Longhaven and Strachan schools.”
Banchory and mid-Deeside councillor Ann Ross said: “Strachan School, before it was mothballed, was a rural school at the heart of the community.
“Any parents who are thinking of applying to send their children to the school would be welcome to do so.
“I believe however that there would need to be sufficient numbers of applicants and children attending the school to make the educational experience feasible.”
Parents with questions or comments are being urged by the council to contact the Learning Estates Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.