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Council progresses on future Primary School provision in Wick

23rd November 2011

Progress on the future provision of Primary Schools in Wick has been outlined this week by The Highland Council.

Earlier this month on 10 November, members of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee heard the outcomes of statutory consultations on the proposed amalgamation of Hillhead Primary School and North Primary School and the proposed amalgamation of Pulteneytown Academy Primary and South Primary School in Wick.

Members of the ECS Committee agreed to recommend to The Highland Council that:
education provision at the existing Hillhead and North Primary Schools be discontinued, with a new primary school established on the site of the existing North Primary School; and that the existing school catchments of Hillhead and North Primary Schools be combined to serve the new primary school;
education provision at the existing Pulteneytown Academy and South Primary Schools be discontinued; a new primary school be established on a joint campus with the Wick High School site; and the existing school catchments of Pulteneytown Academy and South Primary Schools be combined to serve the new primary school; and
to alter the delineation of the school catchment areas to match the natural boundary of the River Wick with effect from the date of the new schools opening, i.e. pupils living to the north and south of the River Wick would attend schools respectively in the north and south sides of the river.

Chairman of the Council's Education, Culture and Sport Committee, Councillor Bill Fernie said: "This has been a very thorough and painstaking process and I believe that the recommendations are very sound. Along with the new Wick High School we have a unique opportunity to renew the whole education provision in the town of Wick and create a real focus for the future of the community. These developments along with the new High school and community facilities that include a new library and swimming pool will make Wick for its size one of the best in Scotland. Additionally there will be almost three years of welcome construction work for the area."

The next stages of the statutory consultation process on the future Primary School provision in Wick are that the recommendations from members of the ECS Committee will be presented to the next meeting of The Highland Council on 15 December 2011.

If the Council approves the proposals, the deadline for representations to Scottish Ministers under the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 would be 4 January 2012. Scottish Ministers would then have until 25 January 2012 to decide whether or not to call-in the proposal.

The Highland Council is committed to complying with the requirements of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and will therefore take no actions until 26 January 2012 (or earlier if no representations are made to Ministers) that could be construed as implementing the proposals.

An indicative timescale for the Wick schools project is to consult and design in year 2012; begin construction of the 3-18 year old campus in 2013, and the new school north of the river in 2014 with both new schools opening together in the summer of 2015.

Subject to agreement by The Highland Council, the Council would dispose of the sites and buildings currently occupied by Hillhead Primary School and South Primary School in accordance with current Highland Council policy and the requirements of the title deeds of the property.


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