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‘Picture postcard pretty’ Kinross-shire primary school in line for £3m upgrade

Cleish Primary School.
Cleish Primary School.

Perth and Kinross Council will explore an option which could see a £3 million upgrade to a rural primary school.

A PKC committee was presented this week with options on how to improve the suitability and condition of a “picture perfect” school.

The Kinross-shire school is situated on a “tight site” and lies within a conservation area.

The village of Cleish is a designated conservation area.

Sheena Devlin.

Executive director of education and children’s services Sheena Devlin described Cleish Primary School as “picture postcard pretty”.

The recommended option – estimated to cost £3 million – was put before PKC’s lifelong learning committee on January 31.

It would see the school’s capacity drop from 64 to 50 pupils to “facilitate short-term improvements”.

The favoured option to bring the school’s condition – currently rated as poor – up to a better standard would see the mobile buildings replaced by one permanent standalone building. The original school building would be refurbished.

Officers told the committee any work would need the approval of PKC’s conservation officer and planning approval.

‘Limits the future’

Independent councillor Xander McDade was worried about the school’s capacity being reduced.

He said: “I think it limits the future for the school to be able to grow.

“Small school rolls can fluctuate a lot. It only takes a few families to move into an area to change that.”

He asked if options would be explored to be “creative” with classrooms to provide a third classroom.

The new building would accommodate two classes of up to 25 pupils – the limit for a composite class. It would also contain a general purpose space. Service manager Carol Taylor said they could explore using the space as a classroom in an “emergency situation”.

John Rebbeck.

SNP councillor John Rebbeck expressed concern about the capacity of the playground being affected.

Ms Taylor confirmed the proposed new building would occupy more space and said: “We would look to potentially see if we can procure additional land so that we can retain the size of the playground if not make it bigger.”

A user reference group will be formed with members of the community council, parent council, staff, pupils and local councillors.

Sheena Devlin gave a commitment – following Monday’s meeting – there would be “full involvement with parent council particularly in relation to future plans”.

Parent council concerns

She added: “If the parent council are feeling they haven’t been involved as they would like to have been then on behalf of the service I would like to say we are sorry they feel like that.

“We can guarantee that – as with all similar projects – this would mark the point for fuller engagement and involvement.”

Conservative convener Caroline Shiers moved to forward recommendations outlined in the council report to further explore design options and engage fully with the community.

Cllr Shiers agreed to incorporate an SNP amendment from Cllr Rebbeck for more detailed plans and definitive proposals to be brought before the appropriate council committee by the summer of 2024.

This was unanimously agreed.

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