24 November 2022

Aberdeenshire Council agrees to permanently close Gartly School

Aberdeenshire Council has agreed to permanently close Gartly School in the Huntly area.

Pupils have not attended the school since 2018 following an oil leak which, despite extensive remediation works to the contaminated soil, could not safely reopen to pupils.

At a meeting of Full Council on Thursday (November 24) councillors agreed to re-assign the Park Lane school’s catchment area to both Kennethmont School and Rhynie School.

This creates a dual zone allowing parents to select between one of these schools.

This concludes a lengthy process and statutory consultation in accordance with the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.

Vice Chair of the Education and Children’s Services Committee Cllr Anne Simpson said: “It was important to our committee that we worked with parents, pupils and staff and considered all options available to us.

“Whilst a difficult decision, the changes to a larger school roll offers children from the Gartly School catchment area an increased opportunity in educational, cultural and sporting activities,

“Not only does this provide a number of benefits for children in terms of both academic and social development, but supports the process of transition towards the larger and more varied setting of secondary school.”

Following the decision to permanently close, the council will work with the community to explore future plans for the former school building and grounds, including use of the playing field.

Cllr Judy Whyte, chair of Full Council, said: “Any decision to close a school is not taken lightly and I thank our officers who have worked tirelessly to ensure every option was considered.

“I am also grateful to members of the community who shared their views either in the consultation, survey or at the public meeting.”

The council’s decision is now subject to a three-week call-in period, in which members of the public can make representatives to Scottish Ministers to review the decision.

This can be done by either emailing schoolclosure@gov.scot or writing to The Scottish Government, School Infrastructure Unit, 2A (South), Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ. 

Any representations must be made to Scottish Ministers by 14 December 2022. 

Aberdeenshire Council will not begin to implement their decision until confirmation has been received by the Scottish Government regarding any call in.