Arbroath’s brand new Timmergreens primary school is already bursting at the seams.
The Courier can reveal that on the first day of the new school year, 231 pupils poured through the doors of the showpiece facility – 6% more than the school was built to take.
Angus Council has described Timmergreens and the new Warddykes primary as “inspirational learning environments” but local councillor Ewan Smith – who previously raised concerns over the prospect of Timmergreens not having enough room for pupils – branded the situation “utterly ridiculous”.
He has labelled the new school “not fit for purpose”.
The Timmergreens capacity of 217 has been breached by 14, with 231 children starting the new school years.
Warddykes primary has room for 342 youngsters and has started the year with a roll of 288.
Councillor Smith said: “I’m pleased Timmergreens opened on time for the new term. The contractors have clearly worked very hard to make this happen.
“But it’s extremely worrying that we now have a school that – on day one – opened at more than 106% capacity.
“There are 14 pupils more than the school is physically designed for, so we now have children being taught in a space that isn’t a proper classroom.”
He added: “I’m sure teachers and staff at Timmergreens will be doing a fantastic job to try and ensure there is no compromise to the learning of the children at their school.
“But it is utterly ridiculous that we’d spend all this money on something that isn’t fit for purpose on the opening day.
“The school is half the size of the old Timmergreens and for years we have been given projected roll numbers that exceeded the capacity of the new school.
“No-one needed a crystal ball to predict this.
“Did we just close our eyes, put our fingers in our ears and hope these kids would move away?
“I can only hope lessons will be learnt from the mistakes made here and that any future school proposals will take proper account of projected rolls, birth rates and major housing developments.”
Timmergreens’ redevelopment has been a controversial town topic for several years, stretching back to the debacle surrounding a failed attempt to create an Arbroath ‘superprimary’ and Mr Smith has frequently clashed with fellow town councillor and Angus education convener Sheena Welsh over the risk of the primary being built without sufficient room for the current roll or space to accommodate additional children.
An Angus Council spokesperson said: “The children and staff of both Timmergreens PS and Warddykes PS have settled in very well to their new school buildings.
“These new schools provide inspirational learning environments for children and adults to work in.
“Staff have described their new working environment as ‘amazing’ and they have worked hard to ensure everything was ready for the children starting school.”