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Special educational needs pupils to benefit from ’21st century’ new campus
Anna Ritchie School hopes to create sensory spaces like the one pictured here at St Andrews School. Supplied/Aberdeenshire Council
Education & Skills

Special educational needs pupils to benefit from ’21st century’ new campus 

A special education school in Peterhead will relocate to the town’s proposed ’21st century’ community campus, it has been confirmed.

Pupils at Anna Ritchie School will benefit from “enriching learning spaces”, including interactive sensory rooms, as a result.

Following a formal consultation and community engagement, members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee last week approved the move.

Head teacher Sharon Ferguson has welcomed the news.

She said: “The facilities on offer at brand new community campuses are second-to-none. We are particularly excited for our school community to help shape plans, particularly for the outdoor facilities, and in the future have access to a whole new world of resources, enriching learning spaces and a really inviting, calm, modern environment.”

Organisers behind the project have looked to St Andrews School – which forms part of the new Inverurie Community Campus – for inspiration. The special school boasts sensory spaces and modern classrooms.

A sensory room is a specially designed room which combines a range of stimuli to help individuals develop and engage their senses.

This can include lights, colours, sounds, sensory soft play objects and aromas all used within a safe environment that allows the student using it to explore and interact without risk.

The state-of-the-art facilities at St Andrews School, Inverurie Campus, as an indication of what is to come. Aberdeenshire Council/Supplied

Extensive engagement of stakeholders and a rigorous consultation process has been ongoing since 2016 as part of the development process for the new Peterhead campus.

Various options have been considered in partnership with the local community, funding has been earmarked as part of the authority’s ‘capital plan’, and the site at Kinmundy was approved in 2019.

The Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 requires that local authorities undertake a formal consultation process whenever changes are proposed to the location or catchment area of a school.

Various parts of this puzzle are ongoing, with the merger of Meethill and Dales Park School also moving to the next phase.

Following in-depth discussion and acknowledgement by the education committee, a final decision on the merger and this aspect of the project will be made by full council in September.

Committee chairperson councillor Gillian Owen said: “Peterhead Community Campus will deliver a 21st century facility that will provide excellent opportunities for learning for children and young people across Peterhead. It’s an opportunity for some of our primaries which wouldn’t otherwise be earmarked for investment to benefit from this exciting project.”

Vice chairperson cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “These little steps take us closer towards the design and completion of a fantastic new facility for Peterhead. Engagement with the local community has been extensive and is ongoing, and we hope to deliver an impressive learning hub which children and young people across the local area can enjoy in years to come.”

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