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Education committee agrees to proceed with new school
Members of Aberdeen City Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee today [Thursday 12 September] heard a report on the outcome of the statutory consultation on the proposal to close Kincorth and Torry Academies and establish a new, purpose-built secondary school on the Bobby Calder Park site.
The report recommended the committee to:
(i) accept the recommendation to proceed with the above proposal and to instruct officers to make the necessary arrangements to deliver the new school by the beginning of school session 2016/17 ie August 2016;
(ii) instruct officers to work with local transport providers to provide subsidised dedicated transport for pupils resident in the catchment area of Torry to the proposed new school whereby the council will support the service and pupils may pay a fare for each journey made;
(iii) instruct officers to investigate the potential transport needs of all other pupils within the catchment area of the new school.
Convener Councillor Jenny Laing's motion to approve the report's recommendations was agreed 17 votes to seven.
Councillor Laing said: "The new school at the Bobby Calder Park site will provide a school that is fit for purpose in the 21st century. It will provide pupils that live in Torry, Kincorth and Cove with the best possible educational, sports and recreational facilities which will help regenerate and transform these communities.
"We will be creating a school which meets the needs of the modern curriculum and which will provide pupils with the educational opportunities they deserve.
"We appreciate the concerns raised by parents, pupils and other interested parties in the Torry catchment area about the journey pupils would have to take to the Calder Park site and the possible travel costs they would incur.
"The safety and wellbeing of all pupils across the city are paramount and these will be uppermost in our minds when we continue to examine the potential transport needs of all pupils within the catchment area of the new school."
Vice-convener Councillor Ross Thomson said: "Today's committee decision is great news for the city. It is a tremendous opportunity for the local communities to enhance the educational attainment and extra curricular activities which will provide pupils with the achievable hope of a better and more successful future.
"Regarding travel, the Council has identified safe walking routes and the Administration has gone further in providing a dedicated subsidised bus service for Torry pupils who will have the longest distance to travel."
As part of the City Council's budget setting process £10 million has been allocated as part of the Non-Housing Capital Programme to the overall project cost.
The Council has been allocated approximately £22 million as a contribution towards the cost of construction of a new secondary school from the Scottish Futures Trust.
Funding and cash flow discussions will now take place to ensure that the optimum financial package is in place to deliver the new school and this will be reported to the committee in due course.