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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Inveravon Primary School Closure Recommendation to be Taken Forward

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Councillors will be asked next month to approve the permanent closure of Inveravon Primary School which has been mothballed since 2017.

The Education, Children’s and Leisure Services Committee agreed today (Wednesday 19 April) to recommend the closure of the school after considering the outcome of a formal consultation process.

The school at Ballindalloch was mothballed after the roll dropped from 13 at the start of the 2016/17 session to zero by the end of June 2017.

Since then no parents have chosen to enrol their children at Inveravon Primary, which had a capacity of 50.

Statutory consultation took place from 29 August 2022 until 7 October 2022 on the council’s proposal to discontinue education provision at Inveravon and reassign the catchment area to Knockando, Aberlour and Glenlivet primary schools.

Consultees were invited to make comments by letter, at public meetings and through an online survey.

Views were also gathered from pupils at the three schools.  

During pre-engagement and the statutory consultation, parents of the 15 children of primary school age within the Inveravon Primary catchment said they would continue sending their children to their current schools rather than Inveravon if it reopened.

The online survey received 33 responses, with 13 people supporting the school’s closure, 14 against and six people not providing a response.

Of the 16 parents who completed the online survey, 11 supported the proposal.  

Five written responses were all against the proposal.

An Education Scotland report agreed that the proposal by Moray Council will result in educational benefits for the children in the Inveravon Primary School catchment.

They stated that the proposal provides clarity for both families and for staff in the neighbouring schools that the children have attended since the school was mothballed.

Officers within the Education Resources and Communities Service and Education Service considered all the responses and presented the results of the consultation to elected members.

Committee was satisfied that implementation of the proposal allows children to have access to increased learning opportunities, wider experiences and better socialisation through being part of a larger school.

Chair of the Education, Children’s and Leisure Services Committee, Cllr Kathleen Robertson, said:

“Considering the closure of a school is not something we take lightly.

“The driver behind this proposal has always been the school having no pupils as a result of parents choosing not to enrol their children at Inveravon over the last six school sessions.

“Having reviewed all the responses to the consultation and having regard to the background to the proposal, the committee considers closure of Inveravon Primary School offers positive educational benefits and should be recommended to full council.”

Mothballing the school has led to savings of almost £118,000 a year.

To reopen the school and bring it up to standard would cost an estimated £206,000, with further investment of £130,000 over the next five years to maintain its condition.

The decision on whether Inveravon Primary should be closed permanently will be made at the meeting of Moray Council on 24 May 2023.

The consultation report is available on the council website here.

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