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Consultation to start on investment in North West Kilmarnock

At the recent meeting of Cabinet, it was agreed to progress with a programme of consultation on a funding bid, to be made to the Scottish Government Learning Estate Investment Programme, for an inclusive educational development in North West Kilmarnock, on the sites of Mount Carmel Primary and Onthank Primary and Early Childhood Centre.

The Council’s School Estate Management Plan, which was agreed in February, highlighted North West Kilmarnock as a priority area for future growth. The proposed funding bid, to be made to the Scottish Government, would allow for:

  • a deep retrofit of Onthank Primary in line with the Council’s Climate Change aspirations - this would be similar to the work being developed at St Sophia’s Primary and will focus on energy efficiency and fully modernising the facilities
  • the creation of a Supported Learning Centre, which would formalise the additional resources successfully piloted at Onthank Primary over the last two years under the guidance of our Educational Psychologists
  • the extension of Onthank Primary to create a new Willowbank Primary School and early years provision for a small number of children aged 3 to 5 years with significant additional support needs
  • new accommodation, as part of a larger campus, for children aged 0 to 2 years in Onthank Early Childhood Centre, which would meet the Scottish Government’s ambition of providing funded early learning and childcare to all 1 and 2 year olds
  • a deep retrofit of Mount Carmel Primary to accommodate current children and young people along with additional Early Childhood Centre provision again maximising the use of fully refurbished existing space.

The funding bid will take a place-based approach, which means that children and young people will learn within their own communities, providing the most appropriate educational setting to meet their needs, with opportunities for everyone on the campus to work together for the benefit of the children and young people. Plans are also being developed to consider suitable joint opportunities with the Health and Social Care Partnership, East Ayrshire Leisure, local community groups and public and private housing investment.

Linda McAulay-Griffiths, Chief Education Officer and Head of Education said: “The funding bid East Ayrshire Council will submit later this year to the Scottish Government Learning Estate Investment Programme is ambitious and best meets the needs of the young people within the North West Kilmarnock area.

“Cabinet has approved statutory consultations and we will be in touch with our parents and carers, young people and community groups in the near future setting out our plans for the consultations. We will be consulting on three parts of the proposal – the new Willowbank Primary, the Early Childhood Centre provision for children with complex additional support needs who would be attending Willowbank and the formal incorporation of additional support needs provision at Onthank Primary as a Supported Learning Centre.

“I would like to take this opportunity to reassure our parents and carers that our plans are subject to statutory consultation but that we will also be undertaking further consultations with community groups, young people, parents and carers, Education Scotland, the Care Inspectorate, school and ECC staff and our elected members. This will include a mix of face to face meetings, online meetings and digital surveys. There will be plenty of opportunity for your views to be heard and I give an assurance that all views will be fully considered.”