Parents are fighting to save Perthshire’s smallest school.
Abernyte is one of 10 primaries facing an uncertain future as part of Perth and Kinross Council’s estates shake-up.
This year, the school’s roll plummeted to just five children – about 11% of capacity.
The local authority is considering a range of options for the rural building, including closure or mothballing and moving pupils to neighbouring schools such as Inchture.
But there is widespread support locally for a review of the catchment area, which could help increase the pupil roll.
Parents and local residents gathered at the school on Thursday night to share their thoughts as part of the council’s ongoing consultation.
Chairman of the parent council Gerard McGoldrick said: “The main problem here is that the school boundary is ridiculously small.
“We really want to see the catchment area increased so we can take in more families. That could help alleviate pressure on schools on the other side of the A90.”
Referring to recently approved plans by local firm Morris Leslie Group, Mr McGoldrick said: “There are 240 houses earmarked for land near Errol and that is going to bring a lot of people into the area, which is going to put pressure on all local schools.”
He added: “I appreciate that the council is in a difficult position. They appear to have an agenda to centralise schools, which flies in the face of the Scottish Government’s policy of protecting rural primaries.”
Although its occupancy rate is among the lowest in the region, a recent council study gave Abernyte an A-rating for “overall suitability” and B for condition.
The council has stressed that no decision has been taken and that feedback from consultation events will be taken into consideration.
The review was launched in 2016 when a report highlighted “significant” ongoing revenue costs at schools across the region.
Education and children’s services spent £29.1 million on the school estate between 2015 -16. These costs included rates, energy, cleaning, building maintenance and grounds-keeping.
As well as Abernyte, the first phase of the review includes schools at Balhousie, Blairingone, Braco and Greenloaning, Forteviot, Logiealmond, Methven, North Muirton and St Ninian’s.
A list of schools considered for the next phase of the shake-up includes Balbeggie, Coupar Angus, Logierait, Stanley and Pitlochry High.