Argyll and Bute Council 'scales back' school cuts plan

Image caption,
Argyll and Bute Council needs to make savings of more than £40m

Argyll and Bute Council has scaled back by more than half controversial plans to close or amalgamate local schools.

The authority met with strong opposition when it originally put forward proposals that affected up to 25 local primary schools.

It has now published revised plans affecting up to 10 primaries.

The council will be asked to give the go-ahead to a series of new consultation meetings when it meets in Lochgilphead on 3 March.

Workshop consultation

Councillors will also be asked to agree to an "ongoing" review of the area's schools in a bid to "reducing the future scale of any changes which would be considered at any one time".

If they agree, an "informal consultation" will be held between 14 and 21 March in a series of organised "workshops".

It is hoped that these will help "to shape proposals which will be presented to council at the beginning of April".

The original consultation was suspended on the recommendation of the council's recently appointed education spokeswoman, Councillor Ellen Morton.

She said she wanted the opportunity to re-examine the plans, which were the subject of significant controversy and opposition.

Councillor Morton said she recognised any proposals affecting the future of existing schools would be controversial but Argyll and Bute had to make budget savings of more than £40m over the next few years.

"We still need to be realistic and face the fact that the council needs to make savings," she said.

"We have too many schools and too many of them are under-occupied.

"We have an inequitable situation where the cost of education per pupil ranges from around £3,000 per year in some schools up to £30,000 in others. This situation is not sustainable."

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