Councillors back Balmedie schools consultation

Plans to change the Balmedie School catchment zone to include the whole Blackdog area have been backed by councillors, despite concerns over capacity.

Plans to change the Balmedie School catchment zone are backed by councillors
Plans to change the Balmedie School catchment zone are backed by councillors

Aberdeenshire Council is proposing to alter the school’s catchment area so it aligns with the Aberdeen City Council boundary.

Currently the Blackdog settlement is split with pupils either attending Balmedie School or Scotstown and Greenbrae schools in Aberdeen.

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The rezoning consultation will run until January 6.

An online survey is also available for those interested in giving their views on the proposal.

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Members of the Formartine area committee met on Tuesday last week to discuss the ongoing consultation.

Councillors generally welcomed the proposal but suggested that Balmedie School would need to be looked at due to worries about its expanding school roll.

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Committee chairman Iain Taylor said that the proposed change would allow Blackdog residents to be part of the same school community.

He also noted that arrangements have been made to ensure that children already attending Scotstown and their siblings will continue to do so.

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Councillor John Crawley said: “It’s silly that one side of the road goes to a different school to the other one. We are going to need to, sooner rather than later, start looking at the size of the school at Balmedie.

“The numbers, especially if new developments come up, will make a massive difference.”

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A final consultation report on the rezoning proposal will come before councillors next year.

The final decision on the matter will be made by the education and children’s services committee.

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

At the moment the school roll is at 399, 82% of its total capacity, but the local authority believes it could go over that in the next three years.

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Last year Kirkwood Homes was given permission to build 284 homes in Blackdog. There are worries that pupils living in the new development will put a strain on the school roll.

But Aberdeenshire Council has said it is looking at options to address any future capacity issues.