Angus Council unveils ‘ambitious’ schools improvement programme

Council leader Bob Myles

A proposed 30-year programme to improve and replace schools across Angus is to be discussed by councillors next week.

The Angus Schools for the Future programme includes ambitions for the replacement of Monifieth High, a major review of all of the schools in Montrose, the creation of a single secondary school campus in Arbroath to replace the existing high school and academy and by 2023 reviews of a further ten primary schools.

The most immediate priority identified is the establishment of a single rural primary school for the Brechin cluster.

Elected members will decide next week on the recommendation to consult on the development of Edzell Primary as the rural school for the Brechin cluster and the closure of Lethnot, Tarfside and Stracathro primaries.

The report to Angus Council prioritises and ranks each of Angus’ primary and secondary schools in accordance with the principles agreed by the council last year. The required expansion of Early Years provision has also been a key factor in prioritising projects.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s council meetings, council leader Bob Myles said the proposed programme was ambitious, robust and would provide a better and more sustainable school estate for the long term.

“This programme reflects the sound principles we agreed last year and has taken account of the extensive feedback we received during last autumn’s Angus wide pre-consultation.

“We said then that Angus Schools for the Future would be the most ambitious plan the county has ever had for the development of its school estate. Our goal is to provide the best quality learning environments for all of our children and young people, making the best use of the resources available.

“I believe the programme which is coming before the council next week delivers that, providing a robust long term plan for improvement in Angus’ schools.”

Commenting on the specific proposals for the Brechin rural cluster, councillor Myles said: “As a local Brechin councillor this proposal brings the challenge of delivering improvement home to me, as it will to those potentially directly affected.

“However it’s clear from the application of the assessment criteria that improving the learning environment for children in the Brechin rural cluster is our most urgent priority.

“Not only are three of the four rural schools in that cluster ranked in the top eight in terms of having the greatest need, we have to develop Edzell Primary to accommodate the planned housing expansion in the village.

“If the council agrees to the proposal the next step is to consult with the school communities affected, in accordance with the statutory process.

“I appreciate that there may be differing views on how we could address this established need in Brechin. That’s the purpose of the consultations, to ensure we properly gather all views before making a decision.”

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