Academy optimism

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A MOOD of optimism is sweeping the Mearns as more details are revealled about the new £25 million Mearns Academy. Work is due to start in 2012 and be completed in 2014, which means that the new S1 which will start at the academy in August, should be enjoying the new school in Fourth Year.

There are however significant reservations about Aberdeenshire Council’s delivery of community services after the new school opens, either in the new school or elsewhere in the community.

At last week’s meeting of Mearns Community Council, rector Ian Parkin said a stakeholder meeting had been held two weeks previously and had been very positive.

The rector said he had a meeting with council officers scheduled for that week to discuss the outdoor space at the new school. Proposals include a cross country track, bike track and provision for outdoor learning.

“The site is a sloping one and we must apply imagination to ensure we get everything we need.

“We are pushing the agenda that the capacity is sufficient. The agreement that the new school should have an 840 core capacity is a great step forward, but we have to ensure that the classroom space is sufficient.”

Susie Brown commented that there is still concern locally about the delivery of community facilities and that sufficient space is allowed for this.

“It has been said that if community facilities are to be in the new school, then the community transport could be used to make it more accessible.”

Councillor George Carr said: “We do not want any quick decisions. Not enough work has been done so far at officer level. What will happen to various groups? That exercise must be undertaken and we must have clarity where we want to go”

Mr Parkin said he he had concerns about the management and access to facilities with the safe keeping of pupils the priority.

“Mearns Academy will be a community campus and we need the capacity to meet the requirements. We will work with the community to achieve these objectives.”

Councillor Carr said: “The sale of the community centre was built in to the overall cost of the school, but there is no timescale. Community facilities are outwith the Scottish Futures Trust and are entirely the remit of the council. We must take our time and a lot of work needs to be done.”