Rural Angus school with fewer than five pupils to close

Lethnot Primary School in Angus has just two P7 pupils and one P5 pupil at present. Image: Angus Council
Lethnot Primary School in Angus has just two P7 pupils and one P5 pupil at present. Image: Angus Council
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A tiny rural school is set to be mothballed later this year when its remaining primary pupils move up to “big school”.

Lethnot Primary School in Glen Lethnot, Angus, boasts on its website, “We are a small rural school. This gives us so many opportunities to do different activities that many other schools can’t take part in”.

But the school, which includes nature walks, eco-awareness and maintaining its own bat box on the curriculum, has catered for just a handful of youngsters over recent years, and the roll, presently four, will fall to zero at the end of the summer term.

Council officials today began a process that, if approved, will result in the school’s temporary closure from August.

One local councillor said mothballing was the only viable option at the present time, but he feared the move would signal “the beginning of the end” for a primary school that was highly-rated by education inspectors on their last visit there.

In a report to members of Angus Council’s education committee in Forfar, the SNP-controlled authority’s head of schools and learning Pauline Stephen said: “Currently, an acting head teacher oversees the work of Lethnot and Tarfside primary schools.

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“In addition to the shared head teacher there are two part-time class teachers at Lethnot. There is also part-time administrative support.

“The school has no pre-school class, three P7 pupils and one P5 youngster.

“The P5 child’s family have recently relocated to another area in Scotland. There are no other younger children living in the school catchment area.”

Consultation with parents would take place immediately and education chiefs are recommending that the mothballing decision should be reviewed at the end of this year, with Edzell Primary temporarily realigned to the school’s catchment area.

Local councillor Bob Myles said: “The sad fact is that there are no children in the area and it is a shame, but mothballing is the only option.

“I would like to see it kept open, but the simple fact is that you can’t keep a school open if it has no children.

“The danger is that once it closes it may be very difficult to get parents to put their children to the school in the future if the numbers are going to be very low.

“There is no doubt that pupils get a special type of education in these small rural schools and a lot of the kids from them go on to do very well when they move up.”

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