Marr schools within capacity

Banchory Academy
Banchory Academy

Only one school in the Marr area has gone over capacity this year – and by just a single pupil.

Towie, which feeds into the Alford Academy cluster, has a roll capacity of 50 but had just crept over in 2018.

However, in a presentation to Marr Area Committee recently, councillors were assured that a five-year forecast showed the school would be nearer 89% of its student limit.

By 2023, only Alford Academy is expected to exceed its capacity – largely due to continued housing and placing requests.The 700-pupil capacity school, which currently has 655 pupils, could be up to 103% on capacity in a few short years.

Education services have said that pupil placing requests are being “carefully managed” to minimise the impact upon schools rolls and that solutions are being investigated.

Banchory and Mid Deeside Councillor Ann Ross raised her concern that by 2023, Banchory Academy would hit 99% of its 900-pupil capacity.

She said: “There are various bids in the local development plan and I am concerned that it could go over capacity with the volume of proposed housing.”

However, she was assured that Banchory doesn’t go near its actual working capacity when temporary accommodation is taken into the equation.

Councillors were advised that the figures were now based on the actual capacity of the likes of science, technical and home economics areas together with temporary accommodation and that these areas could be re-adjusted to cope with additional roll numbers.

It stressed that officers are continually monitoring actual school rolls in order to identify, and react to, any deviations from the forecast as soon as possible.

Also highlighted was the fact that the education and children’s services committee had approved the revised capacities for Aberdeenshire primary schools based on new Scottish Government guidelines.

A review of the region’s secondary schools is to take place in the New Year.