Education Update – February 2014

Falkirk Council’s acting Director of Education came along to our meeting on 24th February 2014 to update us on local educational matters and in particular school roll projections and how Falkirk Council plans to address capacity issues. We covered a lot of ground at the meeting and below is a summary of the key areas discussed.

The Director provided us with a Briefing Note (click on link to view) which shows current school rolls and projected rolls up to 2017/18 for all our local primary schools and Larbert High School.

The key area of concern in relation to capacity is KINNAIRD PRIMARY SCHOOL given the ongoing housebuilding in the area with a further 700 houses being constructed. Over the next 4-years the growth in the school roll will be managed by the installation of additional brand new purpose-built modular accommodation. Beyond this, the Education department at Falkirk Council is currently looking at options and will present these to Committee at Falkirk Council for a decision. The 3 options which will be taken into consideration are rezoning, extending Kinnaird Primary or building a new school. The Director will keep us informed of ongoing developments.

In relation to LARBERT HIGH SCHOOL, it is expected that capacity will be reached around 2017 by which time the school will expand into the current Carrongrange School building which will accommodate the growing roll long-term. It was confirmed there are no plans to rezone Larbert High School. Carrongrange School is moving to a new site in Grangemouth.

A further area being reviewed at the current time is NURSERY PROVISION in light of the decision to increase hours from 475 to 600 for all 3-4 year olds. In addition, there has been a recent Government announcement that children from families who are out of work will be entitled to a place in mainstream nursery provision from the term after their second birthday. These 2 changes will place added pressure on local nursery provision. Falkirk Council is going to present a paper to their committee in April 2014 to outline options moving forward. Again the Director will keep us informed on this important area.

We were also very pleased to have a number of headteachers present at our meeting. The headteacher at Larbert Village Primary School updated us on the playground and access to the MUGA at the school.

In relation to GO KIDS, Education advised us that the provision will continue to operate at the school until summer 2015. Education has committed to work with the board of Go Kids to identify future options including modular accommodation in the playground.

Finally we had excellent presentations from 4 senior pupils at Larbert High School who updated us on a range of exciting developments at the school. In particular they spoke of their plans to integrate more closely with the local community, deliver community volunteering opportunities for S6 pupils, delivery activities (e.g. science) in cluster primary schools, and how they are seeking to improve the image of the school in the local community particularly in relation to litter and lunchtimes in the precinct. We also heard about their Captains Challenge to promote sporting and cultural challenges across the school as part of their Commonwealth legacy, the range of sporting personalities who are addressing the school and recent BBC sports coverage from the school. We are delighted that the S5 and S6 pupils at High School will be providing us with monthly report at all our future meetings.

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