Inverness schools close to bursting point

Picture: JP
Picture: JP
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HIGHLAND councillors are being warned more than a third of primary schools in Inverness are on the brink of reaching bursting point as the number of pupils in the city continues to rise.

A five-year plan is being drawn up in a bid to deal with problems being faced by nine of the 22 primaries in the Highland capital.

Proposals include capping rolls at some schools and adding temporary accommodation units to campuses to create extra space.

The local authority hopes to build new schools including a second Gaelic-medium primary.

The current Inverness Gaelic School is identified as being most at risk from its rising roll.

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Officials are recommending that, in the short term, classes there may have to be moved off site, but a second school would be the preferred option.

Brian Porter, the authority’s head of resources, care and learning, outlined the strain being faced by the nine schools in a report to be considered by councillors of the City of Inverness area committee next week.

He said there has been a number of problems already experienced by several schools in the authority which had led to some extensions.

He added: “It is apparent that a new primary school will be required to be built at some point and there is a site reserved at Ness Castle.

“A detailed examination of the roll projections is required to assist in determining when the new school would be required and what additional overall capacity would be required in order to meet future demand.

“It is likely that extending some of the affected schools would not be recommended

due to the core ancillary accommodation not being sufficient to support a significant

increase in pupil numbers.”

Regarding the Gaelic school, Mr Porter said: “In the short term, consideration may have to be given to moving classes off site.

“In the longer term, if it proves impractical toconstruct an annexe adjacent to the school, then it may be that consideration should be given to building a new school on a different site that could in time

expand into a two stream school.

The primary school in the relatively new Milton of Leys district, which has seen a massive rise in housing projects, is one of the others facing serious pressure due to growing rolls.

It is expected to exceed planned capacity in the next five years.

Others identified in the report include primaries at Merkinch, Kinmylies, Cradlehall, Smithton, Holm, Lochardil and Hilton.

Mr Porter said: “It is clear that there are a number of schools in Inverness that are potentially facing pressures over the next five years and beyond.”

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