Stonehaven needs a new primary school

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A local group has made an urgent call for a new primary school in Stonehaven.

The Dunnottar School Parent Voice group made the plea after a report to Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee revealed the existing school was the only one in the region to receive an overall suitability score of ‘Poor’.

The report stated that the school “continues to have constraints relating to classroom size, external facilities, security (due to location of reception), social space and accessibility”.

The Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee discussed the report at a previous meeting and members wanted consideration for a new primary building for Dunnottar.

Group chair Scott Martin said: “The report clearly highlights that Dunnottar School is not physically fit for purpose.

“This not only undermines the council’s duty to educate our children in a safe environment, but importantly puts additional strain on the teaching staff who, despite the school’s fundamental failings, continue to perform to the highest standards.

“It is fundamentally clear that whilst the teaching within Dunnottar Primary School is of the highest quality, they, and importantly our children, are continuing to be constrained.

“It is vitally important for the well-being of the pupils and the teaching staff that members of the committee and the council leadership at both officer and political level fully understand the magnitude of the situation and seek to address this as a matter of urgency.”

Commenting at the Education and Children’s Services Committee meeting on Thursday, Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor Sarah Dickinson said: “I am a long standing advocate for a new Dunnottar Primary School and it now stands out as the only school in the primary estate with a C grade.

“When it comes to Dunnottar looking at the constraints the school has I’m finding it hard to see where change is going to be possible giving the physical constraints of the site and the building.”

Councillor Dickinson was told that some of the issues at Dunnottar cannot be changed due to the constraints of the site and something different would need to be done.

Quality Improvement Manager for Learning Estates Maxine Booth said: “Dunnottar is a bigger issue. We’ve spoken about this before. This is just one piece of information. We also need to look at the condition of buildings and then present information for the next Capital Plan.”

Director of Education and Children’s Services Lawrence Findlay added: “Earlier this year this committee approved the learning estates strategy for the primary estate so we agreed to take an area by area approach and we indicated that the first area we were going to look at was Formartine.

“We will obviously work our way round the areas, taking a long-term view of the learning estate and what will it need to look like in 20-25 years time.

“It will take time to work our way round all areas, there’s a lot of data being gathered in terms of people’s views that will feed into that.