East Ayrshire’s innovative £68m Barony Campus was due to bring pupils from five schools together on the one campus this August.
The campus is being built by Morrison Construction and will mark a highpoint in schools design, with state of the art classrooms, purpose built for the needs of pupils from early childhood to adulthood and a range of top class indoor and outdoor sports facilities.
The build was progressing on schedule when the lockdown was called on Monday 23 March. Guidance from the Scottish Government meant that all construction work on site had to stop. This guidance is being reviewed on a daily basis and as soon as the Scottish Government advises, Morrison Construction will be back on site to finish the build.
Linda McAulay-Griffiths, Head of Education said: “The impact of Covid-19 has affected every part of our society and every business. The construction industry has not been exempt from the lockdown restrictions, which have been essential to protect the NHS and saves lives. This means that Morrison Construction have not been able to get onsite to complete the build and the campus will therefore not open in August as planned.
“Teams across the Council are liaising closely with the Scottish Government and Morrison Construction and as soon as we have received appropriate guidance from the government work will restart. We sincerely hope that when the new guidance is issued, our contactor will then be in a position to declare a completion date by the end of June.
“Our teachers and young people have been following the build closely and with great excitement. We will continue to keep them informed as plans progress and when the building work restarts.”
As the Barony Campus will not open in August as planned, the following arrangements have been put in place for children and young people who were due to attend the new schools. The arrangements will be subject to Scottish Government guidance in relation to physical distancing. The safety of our teachers and children and young people is paramount and they will only return when it is deemed safe to do so.
The Robert Burns Academy will operate as a split campus.
S1 to S3 BGE Curriculum will be delivered in Cumnock Academy. All P7 pupils from associated primary schools will attend Cumnock Academy.
S4 to S6 will be delivered in Auchinleck Academy.
The secondary Supported Learning Centre will be based within Cumnock Academy and transport will be provided to Auchinleck Academy for young people in S4 to S6 to access appropriate mainstream classes.
The Secondary Hub will be located within Cumnock Academy and transport arrangements will be in place where required.
Lochnorris Primary School
Barshare and Greenmill Primary Schools will continue to operate in their current locations. The schools will work together in transition experiences for the young people, when it is deemed safe and appropriate by the Scottish Government.
Hillside Additional Support Needs School
Hillside School will continue to operate within its current premises.
Cherry Trees Early Childhood Centre
The Early Childhood Centres in Barshare and Greenmill Primary Schools will continue to operate within their current premises. Any decision taken to reopen Early Learning and Childcare settings, and the pattern of hours to be delivered, will be informed by guidance from the Scottish Government.
Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning added: “We have met with the Barony Campus Parent Council to explain the issues we face and our plans for the continued education of our children and young people. It is essential that we all follow the rules set by the Scottish Government to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and to save lives. Life is difficult at the moment and there is a great deal of uncertainty but we are putting plans in place, in close consultation with the Scottish Government, to ensure that our children and young people continue to learn and achieve.
“The Barony Campus is going to be an exceptional facility for the whole community and while I am, like many people, disappointed the build has been delayed, we need to be patient and always follow the Scottish Government guidance.”
Additional information for all parents and carers
Reopening of educational establishments
Linda McAulay-Griffiths, Head of Education said: “As always, we will be guided by the Scottish Government in terms of re-opening our schools. We have been monitoring the situation closely, in anticipation of an agreed date, and we have discussed a number of different options and scenarios that will enable the continuation of education provision across all of our establishments in East Ayrshire.
“Physical distancing and the personal safety of staff and pupils will remain our top priority and we are working with our Health and Safety Team to ensure the very best arrangements will be in place in advance of schools re-opening on Tuesday 11 August 2020.
“We will engage fully with our workforce, parents and carers and will publish more details at the appropriate time, when our plans and arrangements have been finalised.”