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School expansion plans set to be halted

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
School expansion plans set to be halted

PLANS to expand Gretna Primary with extra classrooms are to be put on hold.

It comes after an easing in capacity at the school, with an expected drop in the school roll going forward.

Last year councillors were told that the primary was bursting at the seams and discussions were held about temporary solutions, while it was also agreed to increase the capacity from 208 to 368 due to the anticipated growth.

And a planning application has already been drawn up for a temporary modular classroom.

However, education officials are now advising that the situation has changed and the extra space probably won’t be needed.

In a report for next week’s education committee, school’s property manager Larann Foss said: “Through the course of the current academic year the enrolment numbers for 2021/22 was 304 pupils. This rose throughout the session to 307. The enrolment process has been undertaken for session 2022/23 and the roll at present for Gretna is 298. This includes acceptance of two pupil placing requests from out with the catchment area.

“Reviewing the individual year groups shows a P7 cohort of 48 pupils moving on to secondary education, and 36 new P1s enrolled. The numbers being seen here are in line with the regional picture of falling primary pupil numbers.

“At a roll of 298, and within the capacity value of 308, the school can accommodate the pupils within 11 classrooms, which would return the current 12th classroom to a secondary general purpose room.”

Mr Foss will advise councillors that the technical solutions should now be put on hold and pupil numbers monitored, adding: “Should numbers increase above the capacity a solution can be put in place quickly.”

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