Final fate of Strachan School to be decided

Strachan School
Strachan School

A Deeside school which has been mothballed for yet another session is on the brink of being permanently closed.

With no pupils being enrolled for yet another academic year at Strachan School to the south of Banchory, Aberdeenshire Council has been forced to temporarily close the facility.

A final decision will be made in August as to whether the council begins a formal statutory consultation on the school’s permanent closure.

The authority’s Education and Children’s Services committee discussed the school’s future and heard that a community consultation will run until June 14.

Councillors heard that a series of community engagement sessions have been held since September last year to gather residents’ views on the role of the two-classroom school in future years.

Learning Estates team leader Rachael Goldring told them: “During the engagement period we’ve had with the community we did get quite a lot of suggestions come in.

“Some of them were to re-open the school but the main criteria for that is that we have to have families who will actually send their children to the school.”

She explained that within the Strachan catchment the challenge was not about a dearth of pupils because there were plenty of families who could send their children to the school should they wish to.

Ms Goldring continued: “We’re really in a position where we either need to continue mothballing to see if something changes in the future or we need to look at other alternative uses for the school.”

Some of those options have even included an innovative use as a gin distillery.

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “Extensive work has been done to assess the viability of reopening Strachan School as a school, ensuring educational benefit to any pupils and alternative local provision.

“Councillors have acknowledged an options appraisal following extensive engagement with the local community.

“They also noted the final deadline for members of the community to submit any further suggestions for the facility by June 14.”

The spokesman continued: “Given that we have not managed to attract any new pupils to enrol at the school over the last two intakes, it will remain mothballed for the time being.

“Any alternative use for the facility cannot be progressed unless it is permanently closed as a school.”