New Kilmarnock school consultation announced

Councillors approved the start of a wide-ranging public consultation on the future of school provision in Kilmarnock.

The Council is seeking views from members of the public on exciting proposals relating to James Hamilton Academy, Kilmarnock Academy, Silverwood Primary School and New Farm Primary School and Early Childhood Centre.

A new merged secondary school is proposed, with the choice of two possible locations – the former Diageo site in Hill Street, or the present James Hamilton/New Farm site on Sutherland Drive.

The proposals also offer the chance to build a newly merged primary school – composed of Silverwood PS and New Farm PS and Early Childhood Centre.

At its meeting to consider the proposal document, Cabinet confirmed that at this time, it did not have a preferred option, but recognised that the inclusion of an officer-recommended preferred option, based on the outcome of an appraisal exercise, was normal practice

It was noted that if a new secondary school were to be situated at Hill Street, then consideration would be given to location of a merged Silverwood PS/New Farm PS/ Early Childhood Centre, which would be the subject of a further consultation exercise.

As the current Kilmarnock Academy site was not included for the new build secondary school, councillors agreed that careful consideration would be given to the future use of the iconic 19th century Kilmarnock Academy building.

The Council has developed a range of imaginative solutions which will provide top class educational facilities for the children of the relevant area of Kilmarnock. It will, further, address some of the pressing issues presented by a range of buildings which were designed for a previous era in education and which now have some significant maintenance issues.

If accepted, these proposals mean that all children of secondary age living in the Kilmarnock area will be educated in top class, modern schools with state-of-the-art facilities.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council, said: “This development is part of our ambitious, forward-thinking vision for East Ayrshire. Whichever site is chosen will add significantly to the townscape of Kilmarnock, as well as demonstrating this Council’s firm commitment to education and to the young people of this area, who are our future”.

Councillor Iain Linton, Spokesperson for Lifelong Learning said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the town. Genuine, exciting options are being presented and we want to listen to people’s views. One site offers the advantages of a location shared with the new Kilmarnock College and a wider community development; the other offers development at an established site with the further possibility of an all-through 3-18 campus. Whichever site is chosen, the children of this area will benefit”.

Councillor Stephanie Primrose, Spokesperson for Lifelong Learning said: “These proposals are about educational benefit to young people. When the new school is built, it means that thanks to our new school build programme, all children in Kilmarnock, irrespective of address or special need, will be taught in 21st century buildings with modern facilities to match”.

ends

For further information, contact Elaine Scott on 01563 576013 or email elaine.scott@east-ayrshire.gov.uk

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