FAMILIES, children and members of the public are being asked to help shape what education should be like in Dumfries and Galloway in the future.
The council have launched a ‘school model consultation’.
It is designed to gather views as part of a transformation programme, which addresses the challenges of providing a high-quality service across dispersed rural communities, to an ageing and declining population, with a significant funding gap projected for future years.
The process began back in 2018 but is picking up pace now, with a consultation involving parent council representatives already carried out earlier this year.
Explaining more about the background, a council spokesperson said: “Dumfries and Galloway Council’s school estate, our school buildings and how we use them, will have to change over the coming years to respond to changes in our communities.
“Our council continues to spend more per child in some of our schools compared to the national average, and there is a large range of disproportionate costs across our own school estate. We know that our school rolls are falling across Dumfries and Galloway, that the condition and suitability of some of our school buildings may not be at the standards we want them to be, and that we have many more classrooms than we need in many places.
“This is an opportunity to consolidate and modernise our learning estate with a focus on sustainability and to protect the education of the children and young people in our schools. In order to identify whether making changes to our school estate will have the desired impact, we begin by seeking to create a consensus through consultation on the most important principles that need to be considered to deliver a truly future-proofed school estate.
All the feedback will help form an agreed set of principles for future school planning and will inform a new school model.
Officials want to ensure best value and sustainable settings and improved learning environments while considering the needs and wishes of communities.
Cllr Richard Brodie is chairman of the local authority’s education committee and said: “We are currently engaged with school communities to plan the best way forward for our children. We must seize upon the challenge of falling school rolls to provide quality educational experiences in schools fit for the 21st century.”
n To read more about the consultation, and take part, go to www.dumgal.gov.uk/schoolmodel