Months of speculation will be put to an end when a report on the future of the region’s school estate is released on September 25.
Moray Council moved to publish a clear timetable for publication of the report by consultants Caledonian Economics, insisting that it was always their intention to ensure that the process was “completely transparent”.
The local authority launched the controversial Sustainable Education Review almost a year ago as they faced an estimated £70million bill for bringing the region’s schools up to standard.
An early report by Caledonian Economics indicated a radical rethink of how schools are organised in Moray, with a ‘campus’ system being put forward.
Fears were raised, however, when it emerged that several rural primary schools and one secondary school – Milne’s High in Fochabers – would be under consideration for closure.
While the local authority insisted that no decisions would be made until the final report had been considered by a cross-party committee, earlier this week a meeting of the Full Council confirmed that Lossiemouth High School would be a priority for future funding the region may receive from the Scottish Government – while four primary schools in Elgin, Buckie, Lossiemouth and Forres would received upgrades costing a total of £17million.
Now the chair of the cross-party committee tasked with looking into the consultant’s recommendations, Councillor Anne Skene, has released a timeline for the publication of the report.
[box type=”info”] Schools Timetable
September 19 – Council committee to receive report from consultants.
September 20-24 – consideration and checking with Head Teachers informed.
September 25 – report is made public.[/box] The committee will receive the report on September 19 and following a period of analysis and checking by the group it will be presented to the area-based review group who had commission the consultancy report.
Head teachers will be briefed on the contents before the report is made public on September 25.
Councillor Skene said: “We were clear from the outset that this process will be completely transparent and I hope that the publication of this timeline will be of some help and reassurance to everyone that we will continue to abide by that.
“Naturally, many people are keen to know what ideas are being presented to the cross-party area-based review group and we will put the report out as soon as possible.”
Following publication a full meeting of the Moray Council will debate the contents of the report in November. Leader of Moray Council, Allan Wright, said: “As shown in the timetable there are obvious steps in the process to be undertaken before it is released to the public – but there will be no delay in putting the report from the advisers into the public domain once these steps have been taken.”
The leader of the campaign group set up in support of Milne’s High School, Douglas Potter, welcomed the publication of the timetable last night: “The soon we end the uncertainty hanging over the school the better as it is not only having an effect on teaching staff but the kids.”