The closure of a Fraserburgh primary school has not been ruled out as the local authority begins a public consultation on how to improve education in the town.
There are currently more than 650 excess primary places across the eleven Fraserburgh schools. Some schools are at capacity, others have empty desks.
Now Aberdeenshire Council is considering how to improve the situation and may consider closures.
Today members of the council’s education, learning and leisure committee will be asked to authorise a consultation with parents, pupils, staff and the wider Fraserburgh community.
Although Aberdeenshire Council cannot comment on items yet to be discussed by committee, it is understood no options have been ruled out.
Councils are legally required to undertake public consultations whenever education changes are considered.
In a report to the committee, council education chief Maria Walker says: “Where an Authority is considering reducing the number of education establishments, either through closure or merger, an informal consultation must be carried out with all affected parties, giving stakeholders an opportunity to suggest alternatives to closure before formal plans are developed.”
The 11 schools which make up the Fraserburgh network are spread across the town and surrounding countryside.
Four are within the town and seven are described as “rural”. Of the 658 excess places in the network, 368 are in the rural schools.
Last night Fraserburgh and District councillor Charles Buchan said: “There are a lot of new houses in Fraserburgh and the Victorian schools are in the wrong place.
“There has been no decision at all of schools being closed – this is part of a consultation.
“Local councillors did have a meeting with education officer Rachel Goldring and we were very impressed with what she had to say.
Councillor Buchan, a former teacher, added: “Obviously I don’t want Fraserburgh schools to close. But we want to make the best provision for the children of the town.”
A public meeting will be held on October 30 to discuss solutions with parents, pupils and the community.
A similar consultation process – albeit at a much later stage – is underway in Peterhead.
Catchment areas in the north-east’s biggest town will likely be rezoned so all schools in the network are within their capacities.