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Mothballing on cards for more schools

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By Fiona Reid
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Mothballing on cards for more schools

MORE primary schools in the region are set to be officially ‘mothballed’ next week.

Councillors will be asked to agree to close the doors at Borgue, Kirkbean and Hottsbridge (above) from the end of the term.

Officials are also recommending Carsphairn is kept mothballed, while discussions continue about the future of Colvend and Lochrutton.

All of the schools are suffering from low pupil numbers with just six expected at Hottsbridge next year, ten at Borgue, seven at Carsphairn, 11 at Colvend, eight at Kirkbean and ten at Lochrutton.

In a report on the matter, head of education resources John Thin said: “The school rolls in our primary schools have continued to reduce. In September 2021, the pupil roll was 10,092; in September 2022 the pupil roll was 10,008; and in September 2023 it was 9803.

“The anticipated number of primary pupils for August 2024 is

9506 and is predicted to continue to reduce further in future years.

“At Education and Learning Committee on 1 December 2022, members agreed for officers to engage with schools with a pupil roll of ten or less.”

The term mothballing refers to the temporary closure of a school where the school roll has fallen to very low pupil numbers.

When a decision is made to mothball a school, regular reviews follow to check the situation and potential pupil numbers. It is often the case that after several years of mothballing, a school is then permanently closed.

Already in mothballed status locally are Tundergarth and Hutton primaries.

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