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Exciting developments for Dornoch and Bonar Bridge schools

24th August 2016

The Highland Council, schools and Parent Councils in the Dornoch Associated School Group are working together to create new management arrangements that will secure schools in the local communities for the foreseeable future. The aim is to maintain schools in each location but to explore new management arrangements for the three schools by August 2017. By joining the schools together under one management team we will not only secure the future of all three schools at their existing locations but be able to offer better educational outcomes for the children going to these schools.

Neil Simco, Chair of Dornoch Academy Parent Council said: "The Dornoch Academy Parent Council have discussed informally the prospect of creating closer links between the Academy and the two feeder primaries at Bonar Bridge and Dornoch under one management structure and are excited about the prospect of this in principal. There's a lot of detailed work to do to take this forward, but we see the potential advantages in terms of the benefits for continuity in children's and young peoples’ learning, and in terms of securing high quality educational provision within Bonar Bridge and Dornoch into the future."

The group aims to have one of the first planned 3-18 campuses in North Highland. Work is ongoing with parents and the community to unify education across the Nursery, Primary and Secondary schools allowing pupils to move seamlessly through their school life. Pupils will be able to make use of the facilities in all the schools and benefit from the skills and expertise throughout a united staff team.

Catherine McCulloch, Chair of Dornoch Primary Parent Council said: "The increase in opportunities for our children through this exciting unified approach to education is hugely motivating. Dornoch Primary School Parent Council look forward to working closely with the Council to ensure the transition satisfies everyone's needs."

A Transition Group made up of Council and school staff, Parent Council and Community representatives as well as Elected Members will meet throughout the year to plan for a launch of the 3-18 campus next August. There is much work to do with quite a tight timescale but all parties are committed to trying to make this happen.

The plan is for the 3-18 campus to be delivered within the existing budgets of the three current schools, there will be no additional cost to the Council and, by giving a timescale through to next August we hope to minimise the disruption to pupils and staff. We cannot afford to disrupt the education of children whilst we work towards our aim but by next August we hope to be able to offer improved educational opportunities for all children in the Dornoch and Bonar Bridge area.

The proposal has the support of the three local Highland Councillors and speaking on their behalf, Councillor Jim McGillivray said: "I am in a fairly unique position in that I attended both Dornoch Primary School and Dornoch Academy, as did my children in their time. My grandchildren are now in the Primary School and Nursery, and I have a niece and nephew who attended Bonar Primary School and Dornoch Academy to their great benefit. I am completely convinced, for many reasons, that the 3-18 campus plan is a very positive and proactive proposal which will deliver the very best future for all the schools in the Dornoch Academy Associated School Group.”

The Transition Group will be holding a drop in session in the main hall at Dornoch Academy at 7.00pm on Thursday September 8th. Any parents or members of the community who want to discuss the proposals or just find out more about the idea are encouraged to come along.

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