Aberdeenshire Council’s education strategy for the next three years – including ambitious plans to create a new Peterhead Academy – has been stalled by opposition councillors.
Members of the education committee met at the authority’s Woodhill House headquarters yesterday to approve the department’s agenda.
But, despite backing the ruling group’s package in principle, members of the opposition Alliance referred the final decision to a meeting of full council.
Liberal Democrat councillor Isobel Davidson, who chaired the committee under the previous administration said: “Council priorities should be discussed in public by full council before they are agreed.”
However, SNP councillor and committee vice-chairman Charles Buchan said: “I’m at a loss what the amendment has to do with this discrete and targeted recommendation.”
The full list of council priorities, including the proposed Peterhead Campus and increasing the supply of affordable houses in the region, will now be put to a vote later this year.
During the debate, senior education officer Craig Clement revealed more details about how the new academy will be delivered.
He said: “At this stage, a lot of the work has been about determining our requirements and looking at site options.
“I’d emphasise that is the campus element rather than just Peterhead Academy.
“We need to look at primary provision, additional support provision and leisure facilities.”
He added that the initial appraisals will be concluded this summer and reports will be sent to council committees in the early autumn.
Councillors have already visited the Alford and Ellon community campuses on fact-finding trips and, on June 29, they will be given tours of Harris Academy in Dundee and Brechin Academy.
Peterhead councillors have also already visited Baldragon Academy in Dundee where a new school has been built on an existing campus.
It is understood the visit was to demonstrate that the new Peterhead Academy could be built around the existing 1970s school without disrupting classes.
When the current SNP-led partnership administration seized power at Woodhill House last year, incoming co-leaders Martin Kitts-Hayes and Richard Thomson listed building a new school in the north-east’s biggest town as a key priority.