Committee recommends closure of Longhaven School to Full Council

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee haveagreed for a report to be presented to Full Council to recommend the closure of LonghavenSchool.

By Morag Kuc
Friday, 10th June 2022, 8:49 am
Longhaven School has been mothballed since 2018.
Longhaven School has been mothballed since 2018.

Full Council will also consider plans for the school’s catchment area to reassigned to Boddam and Port Erroll Schools.

The committee also considered the consultation into the future of Longhaven School and comments made by members of the Buchan Area Committee.

In April 2018, pupils were temporarily relocated from Longhaven School to neighbouring schools due to difficulties with appointing a head teacher.

The school was temporarily mothballed in October 2018 by the Director of Education and Children’s Services, with annual extensions issued to date.

In August 2019, committee members approved an options appraisal to begin to assess the school’s future. As part of this process engagement with the community is required, council officers planned to hold a minimum of two public engagement sessions, the first of these was held in October 2019, but the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic meant the second session was postponed due to restrictions on public gatherings.

An online survey was conducted as an alternative to meetings and a letter providing details was posted to every address within the Longhaven School catchment area.

Alternative methods of contact were also suggested for residents wishing to comment but who were uncomfortable about completing the survey.

The questionnaire asked a range of questions including whether or not the respondents wished to see the school reopen, if so whether they would enrol their children; what alternative uses they would like to see for the building if the school doesn’t reopen and how the council can encourage more families to enrol.

Parents who completed the survey were mostly not in favour of the school reopening citing concerns about the viability of a school with low pupil numbers.

Other respondents did want to see the school reopen but many of them did not have children of primary school age who could attend.

In December 2021 committee members agreed plans for a statutory consultation to be held into the permanent closure of the school and for the catchment area to be reassigned to Boddam and Port Erroll Schools.

The consultation was held from Tuesday, December 7, 2021, to Thursday, February 24, 2022. There were also two public meetings on Monday,

January 24 and Tuesday, January 25.

The Buchan Area Committee also approved the proposals when it met on Tuesday, April 19.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “Any decision to close a school is not taken lightly. I would like to pay tribute to the council officers who have worked tirelessly to ensure every option is considered.

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