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To: Laurence Findlay, Aberdeenshire Council, Director for Education and Children’s Services From: Sam Anson, Deputy Director, Workforce, Infrastructure and Digital, Learning Directorate
22 November 2023
Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010: Fraserburgh North Primary School and St Andrew's Primary School Closure and Merger
I refer to your email of 2 October 2023 notifying Scottish Ministers of Aberdeenshire Council’s decision of 28 September 2023 to implement the proposal to close Fraserburgh North Primary School and St Andrews Primary School and merge these into a new school. Ministers have considered this proposal in line with the requirements set out in the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 (“the 2010 Act”).
Under section 17 of the 2010 Act, Ministers may only issue a call-in notice if it appears to them that the education authority may have failed:
(a) in a significant regard to comply with the requirements imposed on it by (or under) the Act so far as they are relevant in relation to the closure proposal, or (b) to take proper account of a material consideration relevant to its decision to implement the proposal.
Section 15(2) of the 2010 Act requires an education authority to provide a copy of the proposal paper and the consultation report prepared under the Act to Ministers when notifying them of a closure proposal.
Section 15(4) of the 2010 Act requires Ministers to take into account any relevant representations made to them by any person during the three-week period from the date that a closure decision is made. In relation to this closure proposal, the three-week period began on 28 September 2023 and expired on 18 October 2023. No representations were received.
Having reviewed the documents provided by Aberdeenshire Council under section 15(2) and considered all relevant representations made under section 15(4), Ministers consider that Aberdeenshire Council has fulfilled its obligations under the 2010 Act and do not intend to issue a call-in notice for this proposal.
Aberdeenshire Council may now implement its decision to close Fraserburgh North Primary School and St Andrews Primary School in line with the timescales set out in its proposal paper. As noted in Education Scotland’s report on the proposal, Aberdeenshire Council should work with local stakeholders, including staff, parents, and pupils to ensure the successful merger of the two schools into one school community. Furthermore, Aberdeenshire Council should continue to engage with stakeholders to address the traffic and parking concerns.
Sam Anson Deputy Director, Workforce, Infrastructure and Digital Learning Directorate