VIDEO: Take a virtual tour of Centre as parents urge councillors to support it

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Barra Children’s Centre are contacting councillors to urge them to make the ‘right choice’ in the vote on the proposal to relocate Castlebay Nursery tonight (Thursday).

Over 380 people signed the latest petition against the proposal and copies of this have been sent to councillors along with photographs of the nursery unit and BCC and a link to a virtual tour of the centre (see our video link).

A statement from the Children’s Centre committee said: “We understand that councillors need to be informed about the nature of the facilities available at Barra Children’s Centre in order to make a decision tomorrow. Parents were disappointed that council officials were unable to arrange a tour of the Children’s Centre and Castlebay Primary prior to a vote taking place as a large number of councillors have not been able to make a site visit. We hope that this virtual tour will go some way to explaining why the communities of Barra and Vatersay are united against the proposal to move Castlebay nursery into the primary building.

“Next academic year will see an increase in the intake of pupils into the P1 Gaelic class necessitating the use of an additional classroom. As a result, 5 out of the total 6 classrooms in the primary department will be needed for primary pupils. If the nursery should move to the primary building there will be no remaining space for taking groups of children out of composite classes to work separately as currently happens in the school. There simply is not enough space in this 1930’s building to comfortably accommodate the primary and nursery departments and allow for the flexibility in the delivery of the curriculum that teachers currently enjoy. We are also aware of a negative impact that this lack of space will have on essential support services such as speech therapy which currently take place in the general purpose classroom or ASN room - both of which will be lost to the refurbishment.

“Parents and the wider community are waiting anxiously to hear the outcome of tonight’s vote. We would all welcome a move for the nursery if it were to a better facility within a better building; but this is not the situation here and the relocation will have an irreversible negative impact on the quality of nursery and primary provision at the school. The Comhairle’s proposal was initially based on the educational benefit of the move but this simply has not been proven.”