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Decision expected on the future of Peterhead school

By David Porter

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The potential closure and merger of Dales Park and Meethill will be considered at a full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council which is set to take place on Thursday.

Members of the Education and Children’s Services Committee (ESC) met last month to put their comments to the report in the proposed move as members discussed the outcomes of a formal consultation on the proposal.

Should councillors agree to go ahead with the plans on Thursday, it has been confirmed that the two schools would merge and be relocated to a facility at the new Peterhead Community Campus at Kinmundy.

It is proposed that the two existing schools would close in July 2025 and the new campus facility would welcome pupils the following month.

The community campus will also be the home of the relocated Peterhead Academy and Anna Ritchie School.

The director of Education and Children’s Services, Laurence Findlay, told ESC members that the campus project was a “once in a generation opportunity” for Peterhead.

However members of the local community have voiced their concerns regarding the proposed merger plans.

Some parents said they were worried about youngsters having to cross the busy Meethill Road to get to the new school and added that the campus is too far for children to walk to.

Meanwhile others wished to see the two schools remain and be upgraded instead of replaced altogether.

Some members of staff at both schools also had their say on the proposals through an online survey.

It was noted that while the majority supported the move for Dales Park they did not support the plan for Meethill and none of those who took part backed the merger.

Staff members felt that Meethill School would lose its “sense of community” and concerns were raised over the large capacity of the proposed new school.

At the ESC meeting councillor Alison Evison moved an amendment to remove Meethill from the merger plan as she said that responses from parents showed a “clear majority” were against the school being part of the new campus.

Councillor Rosemary Bruce
Councillor Rosemary Bruce

However fellow councillor Rosemary Bruce moved a motion to continue with the merger as she said the move would lead to “educational benefits” for pupils.

Councillors voted nine to three in favour of the motion to recommend the merger plan continue however the final decision will be made by Full Council.

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