In Scotland, local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure the adequate and efficient provision of school education in their area. In that context, they may undertake reorganisation of their school estate at any time. School closures (or rationalisations), amalgamations or altering catchment areas can be prompted by many factors such as changing population patterns and the need to provide suitable school buildings for pupils and teachers.
If a local authority proposes to change any part of the existing education provision in its area then it must engage in a formal consultation process under the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.
This Act updated and strengthened the consultation requirements for local authorities. Its aims to ensure that all major changes which affect schools are subject to clear consultation with parents, pupils and communities. This consultation should be robust, coherent, open and transparent, and command the trust and confidence of the public.
The Act also established special safeguards for Rural Schools.
This Timeline is a useful summary of the consultation process that must be followed by local authorities. Please also see the Statutory Guidance issued to local authorities.