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Hundreds of parents take part in £30m schools consultation.

The first stage of the consultations on Renfrewshire Council’s £30million plan to improve its schools and pre-five centres has been hailed a success.

Hundreds of parents took part in a series of public meetings designed to help draft initial proposals for the scheme.

More than 340 parents attended the public meetings held in October, 160 completed questionnaires to capture their views and 60 volunteered to take part in focus groups, 40 of whom will now be selected by ballot.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said, “The £30million school investment programme represents a massive commitment to ensuring local children have the best possible environment in which to learn.

“It is gratifying that so many parents took the time to meet us and discuss how they think this money should be used. The focus groups form an important part of the consultation process and they will meet early in the New Year to start the next stage of the process and help refine the proposals that have come forward from the initial public meetings.

“I’d like to thank everyone who volunteered to take part in the focus groups. We have 40 places to fill and it is a sign of parents’ commitment and interest that these we so heavily over-subscribed.”

The starting point for the consultation has been a set of options:

* Creating shared campuses where schools are close to one another but their combined rolls do not support two separate buildings.

* Moving pre-five centres into nearby primary schools when the primary school currently has too much space.

* Reviewing the catchment areas for some schools. To ensure that each school serves its local community and has the best number of pupils according to its size.

Councillor Henry said, “Renfrewshire’s population is changing which means that some of our schools have fewer pupils than they were designed to accommodate. Schools work best, educationally and socially, when they feel full of life and opportunity.

“Some of our school buildings are very costly to repair and aren’t ideal for delivering a 21st century education. We want our children to learn in an environment that supports the modern curriculum and also helps to develop each school’s sense of community. Similarly where schools have too few pupils, it makes sense to reduce the number of buildings.

“Our goal is to ensure that every child and school can flourish and that parents are involved in making the decisions that will inform this investment programme.”