Moray Council is set to ‘transform the way learning is delivered’ as part of a £300m investment into education to build the next generation of low carbon, digitally-enabled schools.
The local authority has produced a vision for the way it educates its citizens with an ambitious strategy that could see the integration of schools with other public services to provide ‘community hubs’.
Currently, the schools estate for the council has been identified as deficient with 50% of pupils learning in sub-standard environments; 25 primary and six secondary schools in the region fall below the required standard for school buildings.
The strategy – which is open to consultation – sets out a commitment that all learning premises should be a minimum B standard for both condition and suitability, recognising that the quality of the learning environment can impact on learning and attainment.
Convener of Moray Council, Cllr Shona Morrison, said transforming the way learning is delivered is vital to meet the needs of Moray’s growing population, which is currently at 95,000, compared to 87,000 in 2001.
She said: “Different communities within Moray will have different needs, so it’s important that we don’t have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Detailed proposals will be developed for each area, and meaningful consultation and engagement with communities will play a huge part in deciding what each of these projects will look like.
“There aren’t any specific proposals at this stage; what this strategy aims to do is pave a way forward so that the best decisions can be made for each area within Moray.
“There is no short-term fix; it’s about futureproofing learning environments to make sure our children, young people and adults are learning in stimulating and inspiring settings.
“Importantly, this approach we’re recommending will help us attract essential funding to invest in our buildings.”
Under the proposed investment-driven strategy, bespoke projects developed to meet the needs of individual areas in Moray could see new schools built, catchment areas rezoned and the integration of schools with other public services to provide community hubs. Projects will mirror national aspirations outlined in ‘Scotland’s Learning Estate Strategy’, in a bid to secure Scottish Government investment.
The initial focus is likely to be on Buckie, Elgin and Forres, where there’s a need to create more capacity because of increasing school rolls. Other priority areas will be those with schools with serious maintenance issues.