Proposal to change Balmedie School catchment area

Youngsters living in Blackdog could attend Balmedie School next summer if plans to alter the catchment area are approved.

Currently the school roll is at 399, 82% of its total capacity.
Currently the school roll is at 399, 82% of its total capacity.

The Blackdog settlement is currently split with pupils attending either Balmedie School in Aberdeenshire or Scotstown and Greenbrae schools in Aberdeen.

Aberdeenshire Council is proposing to amend the school’s catchment area so it aligns with the council boundary between the Shire and Aberdeen City.

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But the change would not affect secondary school pupils.

Aberdeenshire Council carried out an informal survey for Blackdog residents earlier this year to get views on the existing catchment areas.

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The majority of them believed youngsters should be zoned to Balmedie.

A statutory consultation on the matter will now be launched following approval by members of the education and children’s services committee earlier today.

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Balmedie School, located on Forsyth Drive, has sufficient space for 484 youngsters.

Currently the school roll is at 399, 82 per cent of its total capacity, but Aberdeenshire Council reckons it could go over that in the next three years.

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Meanwhile more than 1,500 homes could be built in Balmedie over the next ten years.

Former councillor Alan Hendry even launched a campaign urging the council to pick a site for a new school in the village.

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But the local authority says it is currently looking at options to address any future capacity issues.

Council officers argued that the rezoning would allow all children within the Blackdog area to attend the same school and create “more social inclusion for pupils”.

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They also said it would have a “positive impact on the mental health of Blackdog residents” by taking away any confusion on school catchments and transport.

The Blackdog settlement has grown over recent years due to new housing developments and is expected to expand even further in the future.

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Housebuilder Kirkwood Homes was given the go-ahead to build 284 homes in the village last February.

The development is located on land that had been allocated for 600 homes.

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There are worries that pupils living in the new homes will put an additional strain on Balmedie School.

The rezoning consultation runs until Friday, January 6 at engage.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/embeds/projects

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A public meeting for those interested in the proposal will be held at Balmedie School on Thursday, November 10 at 6.30pm.

An online survey will also be available during the consultation period for those unable to attend the face-to-face meeting.

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Staff and pupils will be asked for their views on the planned changes too.

Councillor Andrew Hassan welcomed the consultation and encouraged local residents to take part: “Blackdog is expanding but currently it is still one of the smallest settlements in Mid Formartine. It does seems strange to have a school zone line going through it.”

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Fellow councillor Louise McAllister said the proposal “seems to make a lot of sense” and added that it was “absolutely right” to have the consultation period.