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Hutton Primary permanent closure plans revealed

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By Fiona Reid
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Hutton Primary permanent closure plans revealed

THE end is nigh for Hutton Primary which is set to permanently close.

It has been mothballed and in limbo for over three years due to low pupil numbers.

And now council officials are recommending it is closed for good.

It comes after residents in the Boreland area told education bosses they are against continued mothballing and want the building to reopen.

However, school enrolment numbers are too low for 2024/25 so a recommendation will go before next week’s education committee seeking councillors’ approval to move to the statutory consultation process for closure.

A report for that meeting includes an update on the outcome of a public meeting held last October and a survey which was circulated locally.

It says: “The community was overwhelmingly against the continuation of mothballing, fifty-six percent of respondents to the survey wanted the school to reopen.

“It was agreed between those present at the meeting and officers that an opportunity would be given to enrol or transfer pupils into Hutton Primary School for academic year 2024/25 in early 2024.

“It was made clear that a school roll of ten or less would not be sufficient and a recommendation to move to closure would be brought to members.”

Thus, all families in the Hutton catchment area were contacted about enrolling children in P1 for the start of the August 2024 term.

But just four came forward with a request.

A further public meeting took place in Boreland at the end of February to update the community and inform them of the request to start the closure process.

The official report also reveals officers’ reasons for recommending closure: they state that no pupils have attended the school since August 2020 and the school roll is not predicted to rise in the near future.

Education chiefs have also underlined that the region is currently experiencing a “significant and sustained fall in pupil numbers”, with a further 18 per cent fall predicted in the 0-15 age group over the next decade.

Meanwhile, mothballing is set to continue at Tundergarth, Ae, Carsphairn and St Ninian’s primaries for the 2024/25 year.

Dumfries and Galloway Council officers will be engaging with families and the wider community to “further consider future options” for St Ninian’s in Newton Stewart and Tundergarth Primary.

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