Councillor urges that Sandwickhill School is reopened

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Concerns about school overcrowding has led a Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Councillor to ask for a report on the provision of Primary and Nursery education at Stornoway Primary.

Councillor raised concerns about accommodation, facilities, projected rolls and demands of pre-school education at the town centre school at last week’s Education Committee.

He said that for years parents, parent councils, teachers and local councillors had been highlighting the worsening overcrowding situation and the lack of a proper gym, changing facilities, storage, too few classrooms and a decent pitch.

Cllr Mackenzie highlighted that he had been told that £2m had been spent on the external fabric of the building in the past but that had not brought one square centimetre of extra space within the building.

He continued: “When Sandwickhill School was closed and there were 300 pupils in Stornoway Primary, all sorts of promises were made to the Sandwick community that the pupils would be going to better facilities. This was not true.

“The pupil numbers are now at 433 but expected to rise to 460.

“In addition the nursery has 122 children registered for the nursery nearly 600 at present but with the increase in childcare hours from the Scottish government in 2020, this will substantially increase.”

Rae Mackenzie also stated that since the Sandwick community were made promises, in 2010 well over 120 houses will have been built opposite Parkend and many will have young families.

He asked:“ Where are these children going to go? Are they going to be crammed into an already over-crowded school?

“I think the council should look at the reopening of Sandwickhill School?”

Finally, Councillor Mackenzie said: “I know what the situation is in Stornoway Primary, the staff are fantastic, but they are working under circumstances that are getting more cramped by the day. Urgent action needs to be taken.”