This statutory guidance is issued under section 19 of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and replaces the guidance which was published on 31 July 2014.
The 2010 Act was amended by the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, and the final part of those amendments, relating to the School Closure Review Panels, came into force on 30 March 2015. This guidance provides advice on those new requirements, and on transitional arrangements for consultations on closure proposals which were underway on 1 August 2014 or 30 March 2015.
The 2010 Act’s principal purpose is to provide strong, accountable statutory consultation practices and procedures that local authorities must apply to their handling of all proposals for school closures and other major changes to schools.
These consultation processes are expected to be robust, open, transparent and fair, and seen to be so. They are also expected to be consistent across Scotland.
The 2010 Act makes special arrangements in regard to rural schools, establishing a procedural presumption against the closure of rural schools. This requires education authorities to follow a more detailed set of procedures and requirements in formulating a rural school closure proposal and in consulting on and reaching a decision as to whether to implement a rural school closure proposal.