19 September 2019

Extensive investment in school and early years settings begins to take shape

Aberdeenshire Council’s schools and early years settings have seen significant investment over the summer months with 15 capital enhancement projects completed with a total value of over £2.4m.

£717,000 of this has gone towards improving spaces at Balmedie, Crombie, South Park, Fetterangus, Mill of Forrest and Old Rayne primary schools. At Old Rayne, where there has been a steadily increasing school roll, staff and pupils are now benefitting from an additional classroom, a new storage area and an accessible toilet as well as a new flexible working space. The extension is fully accessible to wheelchair users and helps to future-proof the building for new generations.

Morrison Construction delivered the £340,000 contract for the works at Old Rayne and have been praised for going above and beyond to support the school community.

Head Teacher Laura Dlugonski commented: “We’re delighted with the extension and pleased to now be able to enjoy it. We’re really thankful to the Council’s Learning Estates and Property teams for bringing this forward and to the team at Morrison Construction for all of their hard work during the construction phase. The relationship they’ve developed with our young people and our staff has been brilliant and we’ve enjoyed lots of great learning opportunities.”

A further £1.7m was dedicated to expanding early years settings to support the roll-out of extended funded early learning and childcare hours. This is supported by a capital grant from the Scottish Government. 

Over the summer major refurbishments at Westhill, New Deer and Strichen were completed, enhancing the flexibility and suitability of provision for promoting creative and engaging learning through play.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire’s Education and Children’s Services Committee added: “I’m so pleased to see so many success stories emerging from so many schools and nurseries across Aberdeenshire.

“These enhancements to primary schools are primarily based on the condition and suitability scores analysed by officers on an annual basis. School roll forecasts are also continuously monitored to help prioritise investment in areas of growth. The expansion projects in our early years settings is also backed up by robust data on expected future rolls, and has given us an opportunity not only to expand but really enhance what’s on offer across our learning estate.”

Vice Chair Mark Findlater added: “Before the end of next year, we’re looking at spending an additional £15m on other major enhancement projects across Aberdeenshire’s learning estate. We are committed to continuing to invest in our schools and early years settings, and delivering the best possible start for children and young people across Aberdeenshire.”

In addition, the £55m Inverurie Community Campus is due for completion in 2020 and an estimated £6.55m will be spent building brand new early learning and childcare facilities in Insch, Huntly and Portlethen.