Dunbeg school already close to full
DUNBEG Primary School is closer to capacity than council figures suggest, leading to questions over how it can cope with the influx of new houses in the Dunbeg masterplan, writes Sandy Neil.
The ‘statement of intent’, approved in April, envisions 300 new homes built between 2017 and 2022 in the first phase, and 605 overall beyond 2022.
In a door-to-door campaign, Dunbeg residents called for a new, bigger school, as well as safer access at the ‘dangerous’ A85 junction and an upgraded Kirk Road before another brick is laid, reiterated at Dunbeg Community Council on Monday evening.
‘The school needs to be addressed now. Nobody could give us the numbers,’ said chairman Sean MacIntyre, who is planning a new petition to get the council ‘to take our concerns seriously’.
‘He continued: ‘Argyll and Bute Council are not listening. They are just hand-picking what they want for the houses to get through.’
When the Dunbeg masterplan was unanimously approved, councillors heard the education department was satisfied it could accommodate new children at the existing school, and there would ‘not be an issue for child spaces’.
According to council figures, which we published last week, Dunbeg Primary was just under half empty, with a role of 78 pupils, and a capacity of 141.
But The Oban Times understands Dunbeg Primary’s actual role, including the nursery, currently stands at 90 pupils – with numbers due to expand to 98 this August.
Moreover, we also understand the school’s capacity is only 116 pupils, rather than 141. This means in August, before any of the 300 houses are built, the school is already close to capacity, with space for only 18 more children.
The council later corrected its statement, saying the school indeed has 90 pupils, but it confirmed there was still room for 141 – a capacity unknown at the school, leaving questions, how will it accommodate the extra 25 pupils, and how is capacity are calculated?
The education department said in the masterplan report: ‘In the short term, the modest level of population growth in the Dunbeg catchment area will be addressed by ensuring there is provision in the existing primary school. The existing capacity, of which there is some, will be augmented by prioritising catchment pupils over placing requests and remodelling the inside of the school. In the medium term, with the further development of 300 homes, consideration will be given to any identified requirement to increase the current school capacity. This may include allocation of existing capital budget resource.’