Local Schools to be mothballed

Easterfield School
Two rural Aberdeenshire primary schools are to be mothballed for a second year due to dwindling pupil numbers

By Kirstie Topp – Local Democracy Reporter

Aberdeenshire Council has decided to keep Fisherford and Easterfield schools closed for another year.

Last May the local authority was told that just three children would be left at Fisherford School due to families moving out of the area.

Easterfield School met the same fate as its pupil roll fell to eight and the decision was made to mothball both facilities.

If a school is mothballed it is temporarily closed as pupil numbers are too low to justify keeping it open.

Aberdeenshire Council has said that in order to reopen them there would need to be

sufficient pupils on the roll to make educational experiences viable.

Easterfield School is located in the Turriff area and the remote rural school has capacity for 25 pupils.

Meanwhile, Fisherford School is located near Rothienorman and can accommodate up to 30 pupils.

Earlier this year parents in both catchment areas were asked if they had any interest in enrolling their children in the schools.

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Two families in each area had said they would be happy to send their children to them but the roll numbers would have been less than five.

Due to the lack of pupils they will both be closed for the next school session.

As this is the second year the schools will be mothballed the local authority has said it is “appropriate” to consider the future of both facilities.

Councillors will be asked to note the decision to mothball both schools at a meeting of the Education and Children’s Services Committee next week.

They will also be asked to approve the start of an options appraisal on the future of the two facilities.

The results of the appraisal will help officers to figure out the next steps for each school and could eventually lead to them closing forever.

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