A two-centuries old Fife school has been mothballed after having no pupils for the last two years.
Milton of Balgonie Primary, which would have celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2023, has stood empty since the last pupil moved to the school in the neighbouring village in 2019.
Pupils who would have attended the school, which has capacity for up to 75 children, instead go to Coaltown of Balgonie Primary School or schools in nearby Glenrothes.
Although closed for the time being, however, Milton of Balgonie Primary School may not be gone for good as the building is being retained in case future development brings a new generation of pupils.
Land in the village has been earmarked for the possible of development of 63 new homes from 2024.
Fife Council’s education and children’s services committee approved the mothballing of Milton of Balgonie Primary School on Tuesday.
Head of education and children’s services Shelagh McLean said: “The school has not had any pupils for the whole of the last academic session 2019/2020 and this session 2020/2021.
“The school has temporarily been empty but it has not been mothballed.
“At this point in time we don’t wish to progress to statutory consultation on full closure. We want to provide time to determine whether or not there is any possibility of a school roll developing over time within that area, and we obviously want to look at whether or not the school will be required again in the future.”
The school has not had any pupils for the whole of the last academic session 2019/2020 and this session 2020/2021.”
Shelagh McLean, Fife Council
Between 2013 and 2017 the school’s roll fell from 27 to 23 and in 2018/19 there was only a single class of 14 pupils left.
At the end of that year families applied for places at other schools, leaving only one pupil expected to attend from August 2019 until their parent chose to move them to Coaltown of Balgonie.
Projections for the next five years show no more than three pupils in the Milton of Balgonie Primary School catchment area.
Mrs McLean said there had been no progress towards building homes on the Balfour Place/Main Street land but that the site’s potential would be reviewed for the forthcoming Fife development plan.
The school’s status will be reviewed again in September and any children who wish to enrol will be offered places at Coaltown of Balgonie Primary School and offered free transport if they meet the distance criteria.
Resources and furniture in the school are to be offered to surrounding schools.
Mothballing, rather than closing a school, gives the opportunity for it to reopen should circumstances change and no legal process is necessary.
Coaltown of Balgonie Primary School featured in a coverage of the return to school after lockdown last August.