‘Beyond farcical’ — Arbroath primary school over capacity before it has even opened

© DC ThomsonTimmergreens Primary School under construction.
Timmergreens Primary School under construction.

Arbroath councillors have clashed over a showpiece new town primary school that is already over capacity before it has even opened.

Data presented to Angus Council’s children and learning committee has revealed Timmergreens Primary, part of a multi-million-pound town schools upgrade programme, will be at almost 103% occupancy this year.

Education chiefs have already said that general purpose space will have to be used as a temporary classroom once the school opens next month, a scenario branded “beyond farcical” by town councillor Ewan Smith.

Timmergreens, with a projected 2016-17 roll of 223 children against a working capacity of 217, is due to open in May and is one of four Angus primaries which the committee agreed to roll cap.

However, the council’s education convener, Arbroath councillor Sheena Welsh has defended the Timmergreens situation and said the new school is being built to accommodate catchment area students.

Mr Smith said: “It’s beyond farcical that the ribbon hasn’t even been cut on the new school at Timmergreens and it’s already at almost 103% capacity.

“The convener dismissed it by stating we don’t have a crystal ball to predict how popular or unpopular a school is.

“That’s a ridiculous statement given that we have had report after report after report stating that projected roll figures showed the school was going to be close to or beyond the working capacity.”

He added: “Warddykes is likely to soon suffer the same fate as soon as the new housing development at Meadowbank is completed.”

Mr Smith has also raised concerns over the capacity of improvements being built into Hayshead, Ladyloan and Muirfield schools which are also set for major investment.

Mrs Welsh said: “We have classroom space for 217 pupils and we expect 219 in August, with seven spaces kept for pupils who might, or might not, move into the catchment area during next session.

“There are two general purpose rooms/flexible areas and we will use one next session for an additional classroom on a temporary basis.

“There is a big P7 next year which will be leaving school in August 2017 and this will reduce the roll.

“We are also actively managing the number of placing requests for the school.”

Mrs Welsh added: “The school is being built to accommodate the number of children who will be living in the catchment area.

“We can’t build huge schools just in case there are a lot of placing requests for that school, or in case there might be a housing development some time in the future.”

  • Concerned Observer

    The Alliance were to build a 500 place School to replace Timmergreens and Muifield. The size of the school was to allow for expanded roles (about 50 spare places) and the new builds at the Westend of Arbroath. You get what you vite for, an incompetent SNP Convenor and a useless idle Councillor Mr Smith. The only thing he achieved was to leave Muifield as the worst rated condition School and be identifed as lying to the campaigners when all along he was an SNP plant.

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