Two special needs schools and a nursery face the axe, the Paisley Daily Express can exclusively reveal.
Renfrewshire Council is looking to shut Clippens School in Linwood, Paisley’s Kersland School and Hollybush Pre-Five Centre in Glenburn.
The authority yesterday confirmed plans to replace them with an £18million state-of-the-art school – if the council can secure £9 million in match funding from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Futures Trust (SFT).
Meetings have been held in the past few days to fill parents in on the proposals.
The council has stressed that the plan is not a money-saving move, but is designed purely to make life easier for pupils – many of whom use wheelchairs – and give them a bright, modern school to learn in.
Councillor Jacqueline Henry, convener of the council’s Education Policy Board, said: “Kersland School and Clippens School both have an unrivalled reputation for the excellent quality of the teaching and care that they provide.
“What is required is accommodation that meets the same exacting standards.
“We recognise that the physical environment at Clippens and Kersland does not meet the learning and development needs of the pupils who use the schools.
“It simply isn’t good enough that in Clippens we have a two-storey building where many of the pupils use wheelchairs.
“If we can get the funding from the SFT, we have an opportunity to provide local children, who have special educational needs, with the facilities that they deserve, facilities which are fit for the 21st century.”
If the funding can be secured the new school could be open by summer 2016.
The new school would provide:
●better access to PE and sporting facilities
●better ICT facilities
●specifically-designed outdoor areas
●improved personal care areas, which would help promote pupils’ independence and dignity and
●improved accessibility and more effective support for pupils with sensory and physical difficulties.
Paisley MSP George Adam is supportive of the idea on principal.
The SNP man said: “A change of any kind is difficult for all young children, but for these pupils – who are young and vulnerable – it could be traumatic.
“The whole situation will need to be handled with care and consultation as well as full and proper engagement with the families, pupils and staff involved.”
Councillor Henry has stressed that this will be the case, saying: “Consultation is the key to this process. We have held meetings with parents and will continue to do so on a regular basis throughout this process.
“We will listen to parents and we will be guided by their wishes.”
Schools are judged on how close they are to the maximum number of pupils they can take, their physical condition and the suitability of their facilities.
Kersland School is currently overcrowded. It was designed for 65 pupils but currently has 81; Clippens School is satisfactory with a school roll of 58 against a capacity of 78 and Hollybush Pre-Five Centre, for children with complex and multiple difficulties, is severely underused with just 18 pupils when it could have 42.
Clippens and Kersland schools are both rated as ‘poor’ in terms of the conditions of the buildings while Hollybush is satisfactory.
Clippens was originally designed as a primary school and has two storeys. It has been modified to meet its pupils’ support needs, but many use wheelchairs and the building is unsuitable for them.
Kersland similarly scores poorly on suitability as the internal social areas and facilities are too small. Facilities are also spread over a number of annexes.
The Scottish Futures Trust is a public corporation, set up by the Scottish Government in September 2008, to improve public infrastructure investment.
At the full council meeting on September 27 approval for a full consultation exercise will be sought.