Friday, 14 February 2014

Temporary classrooms for Ardrossan school

Temporary accommodation is to be located at James McFarlane School in Ardrossan to meet the needs of a projected increase in pupils attending the facility, which caters for young people with severe and complex needs.

North Ayrshire Council’s Pre School Assessment Team has identified that 5 children will require a Primary 1 placement at James McFarlane in the new term beginning in August. A further 3 pupils will begin Primary 1 at Haysholm School in Irvine. None of the existing pupils at the two schools is expected to leave until 2016.

Earlier this year the local authority’s SNP administration dropped a controversial plan to accommodate pupils from James McFarlane and Haysholm within the campus of a new mainstream secondary school serving the Three Towns.

Councillors are this week expected to agree a plan put forward by officials from the Education department, which will include the hiring of “stand alone temporary accommodation until the outcome of the strategic review of Education and Skills is known”.

The temporary accommodation at James McFarlane School will have set-up costs of around £27,900 with the weekly hire charge being in the region of £690. The Council also intends to set-aside £30,000 for internal alterations to the existing school building. Council papers for this week’s Cabinet meeting state, “Given the technical complexities of undertaking the required internal alteration and extension works and the ongoing review of the school estate, it has been agreed that the most appropriate solution at this time is to provide additional teaching space via rented modular accommodation and by undertaking modest internal alterations.

“The provision of this unit will ease pressure on the existing accommodation, allow for a more flexible use of the internal spaces to accommodate the increase in pupil numbers and in turn increase the overall capacity of the school for now and in future years.”

Officials indicate the proposal has been designed to cause minimum disruption to pupils and staff, and would be undertaken during the six-week summer break.

The modular accommodation unit is to be located on hard-standing ground adjacent to the school’s Sensory Garden and is to be linked to main building to ensure security and maintain the integrity of the facility.

The total capital investment required to implement the proposal at James McFarlane is expected to be around £57,900. There will also be a revenue outlay of £36,000 per year for the rental of the modular accommodation.

The headteachers and Parent Councils of James McFarlane and Haysholm schools are understood to have been consulted on the Council’s plans.

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