Fate of Fife school with no pupils in hands of community with new consultation

Councillors are set to consult over the fate of a Fife school with no pupils.
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Milton of Balgonie Primary was mothballed in 2021 after its school roll fell to zero two years earlier. It had a capacity for 75, but numbers had steadily dwindled from 45 pupuls in 2003. Any new pupils from within its catchment area have offered places at Coaltown of Balgonie Primary.

The statutory consultation comes after five academic sessions have passed with zero pupils - and the doors remaining shut. As required, reviews of the decision to mothball the school were carried out, in November 2021 and June 2022, based on the school roll, the projected roll and any feedback received from stakeholders.

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The school was mothballed in accordance with Scottish Government guidance. It was also recommended to provide an opportunity for the school to reopen if circumstances changed.

Milton of Balgonie Primary School is currently 'mothballed' having had no pupils since 2019.Milton of Balgonie Primary School is currently 'mothballed' having had no pupils since 2019.
Milton of Balgonie Primary School is currently 'mothballed' having had no pupils since 2019.

Councillor Cara Hilton, education spokesperson, said: " A third review in June 2023 again highlighted that no parents or carers of pupils living in this area have formally requested that the school should be reopened. Births in the catchment area have not significantly increased in the last year and the one development site for this catchment area has not yet received planning consent. That means there is no guarantee that housebuilding will commence soon.

"This is the fifth academic session where the school within the Milton of Balgonie village has had no pupils enrolled.”

Officers can now progress to a formal consultation period with a proposal to close Milton of Balgonie , and rezone the catchment areas of Coaltown of Balgonie, Pitteuchar East and Thornton Primary Schools. Added Cllr Hilton: “I would encourage parents and the local community to get involved in the consultation and ensure their voices are heard."

If the closure proposal is approved, consideration will be given to other educational uses for the site.