Argyll and Bute Council agreed yesterday (3 March 2011) to hold a series of pre consultation meetings with ten communities that potentially would be affected by its schools estate review.
This innovative approach arose from discussions with the Argyll Rural Schools Network (ARSN) and a wide range of groups and individuals who met with Councillor Ellen Morton, the council’s spokesperson for education, during a widespread programme of visits to schools.
The pre-consultation will ensure the council has a full and complete understanding of the impact its school review will have on communities. The opinions and information collected at the meetings will be used when considering whether the council should progress its proposals to formal statutory consultation or to withdraw the proposals.
Key community representatives, ARSN, parent council members and school representatives will be invited to the meetings, which will be conducted jointly between council officers and the affected communities.
Councillor Morton, spokesperson for education said:
“I want to highlight the positive involvement of the Argyll Rural Schools Network in discussions with the council that has helped us develop our new approach. I also want to thank all of the parents, staff and others with whom I met on my school visits for the courtesy I received from every quarter.
“The agreed approach is designed to ensure that all viable alternatives are identified and assessed to better inform the council on the decisions it will face.”
Informal consultation will take place between March 28 and 4 April, in the form of facilitated workshops, with the results helping to shape proposals which will be presented to council on 19 April. This is later than originally proposed to allow a minimum period of 25 days for preparation.
Parent groups, teachers, community groups, elected members and the Argyll Rural Schools Networks will be invited to take part in the discussion meetings.
Once the informal discussions are completed community impact assessments will be prepared and discussed with community groups before they are submitted to council. These assessments will inform decisions taken over which proposals will go forward for formal consultation.
Notes to editors:
The council paper proposes pre-consultation meeting for the following communities:
These potential options will be considered at pre-consultation meetings:
St Kierans to Castlehill
Ardchonnel to Dalmally / Kilmartin
North Bute to Rothesay Joint campus
Toward to Inellan
Luss to Hermitage Primary School
Achaleven to Dunbeg
Achaleven to Lochnell
Ardchattan to Lochnell
Minard to Furnace
Minard to Lochgilphead
Rhunahaorine to Glenbarr
Clachan to Tarbert
Skipness to Tarbert
Ashfield to Lochgilphead
Ashfield to Tayvallich