Perthshire schools without maximum pupils could be closed down

Schools in Perthshire not at maximum capacity face closure. Picture: Steven Brown

Schools in Perthshire not at maximum capacity face closure. Picture: Steven Brown

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Schools without the maximum number of pupils could be closed as part of a radical shake up of education services across Perthshire.

Council chiefs are preparing to launch a review of all primaries and secondaries in an effort to bring rising revenue costs under control.

The initiative, part of Perth and Kinross Council’s five-year transformation programme, will look at the condition of school buildings, pupil numbers and occupancy rates.

According to a Lifelong Learning Committee report, several options will be considered including shared headships, catchment reviews and “rationalisation through closure.” The possibility of building new schools in areas of high demand will also be considered.

The move comes just months after councillors approved the latest budget, which proposed a £145 million investment in the school estate over the next seven years. This does not include a new secondary school planned for Bertha Park which is being funded by the Scottish Government. In her report to councillors, service manager Carol Taylor said: “The ongoing revenue costs of the school estate are significant.Education and Children’s Services spent £29.1m on the school estate in 2015-16. These costs include rates, energy, cleaning, building maintenance, grounds maintenance and the unitary charge for the Investment in Learning schools.

“There are also revenue pressures associated with new schools, due to additional rates, cleaning and grounds maintenance, all of which need to be funded from existing resources.”

She said: “It is important, in light of the significant investment and cost associated with the school estate, that it is managed in an efficient and effective manner, and that the priorities which are addressed meet the wider strategic objectives of the council and the needs of our communities.”

Schools which will bear the most scrutiny are ones running at less than 60 per cent capacity.

According to figures released by the local authority, there are 11 schools with an overall suitability grade of C, meaning poor, “showing major problems and/or not operating optimally”. A total of ten schools are also rated C for their condition.

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