End could be nigh for moth­balled school

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS -

The po­ten­tial clo­sure of a pri­mary school just out­side Oban which has been un­used as a school since 2014 is to be dis­cussed at a coun­cil meet­ing next week.

The “moth­balling” of Ard­chat­tan Pri­mary School was ap­proved by Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil­lors more than four years ago.

And a re­port to go be­fore the coun­cil’s com­mu­nity ser­vices com­mit­tee on Tues­day has said the best op­tion is for the school to be closed com­pletely.

If the clo­sure is ap­proved, Ard­chat­tan’s catch­ment area will now be in­cluded in the area for Lochnell Pri­mary, eight miles away.

Other op­tions for the school, in­clud­ing re­open­ing, con­tin­ued moth­balling and des­ig­na­tion as a re­source cen­tre, were re­garded as un­rea­son­able.

The doc­u­ment to be con­sid­ered by the com­mit­tee says: “The school roll was very low and not pre­dicted to rise in the near fu­ture.

“This con­tin­ues to be the sit­u­a­tion.

“There is very lit­tle sup­port for the re­open­ing of the school. Whilst the build­ing is moth­balled it con­tin­ues to de­te­ri­o­rate.

“The com­mu­nity is very proac­tive and is plan­ning a fu­ture for the build­ing.

“Along with sev­eral other ru­ral coun­cils, Ar­gyll and Bute is fac­ing in­creas­ing chal­lenges in re­cruit­ing staff.

“In Oc­to­ber 2018 there were sig­nif­i­cant va­can­cies for both head teach­ers and teach­ers.”

The re­port says a meet­ing at­tended by 15 peo­ple was held in March, with the ma­jor­ity not in favour of re­open­ing the build­ing as a school.

It also says the cost of bring­ing the build­ing to an ac­cept­able stan­dard to re­open as a school or re­source cen­tre is es­ti­mated at £190,000.

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