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THE TIMING of a decant of pupils to allow the building of a new Kirn Primary School have been announced – and condemned by Scotland’s largest teaching union and a parent council.


Argyll and Bute Council announced last week that pupils will be moved to classrooms within Dunoon Grammar School’s English department after the Easter holidays, with the grammar school’s English Department’s resources moving to temporary classrooms installed in DGS car parks over the two-week holiday period.




However – representatives of grammar school staff and students are far from happy at the timing of the move, which comes as an Easter revision school takes place for students preparing for important examinations.


A spokeswoman for Dunoon Grammar School’s parent Council said: “We are extremely unhappy at the timing of the decant and the disruption this will cause to the pupils, particularly the S4, 5 and 6 pupils, as they prepare for their National 5 and Higher exams.”


The spokeswoman continued: “There will be a parent council meeting on Tuesday, March 1 at 7pm in the grammar school, where it is hoped the elected council members will be in attendance. We would encourage as many parents as possible to attend”


Argyll and Bute EIS secretary, Billy Marshall, said: “The timing of the decant has happened at a time of year (close to the SQA exams) which is particularly inconvenient for the school and as part of that the English Department.


“There is no doubt that the decant being delayed by a few weeks would be better from the point of view of the secondary school calendar.”


Mr Marshall said that the union asked for a committee to be created to discuss ways of minimising disruption, but this was rejected by the council.


He continued: “Secondary teaching staff affected have never felt as if they were consulted. In fact, their concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears.”


Argyll and Bute Council admitted that the timing of the decant was to save money, but insisted that pupils will not be adversely affected.


A council spokesman said: “We need to move forward with the building work at Kirn as soon as possible or risk significantly increased costs.  This increase in cost would be due to construction inflation.


“There is also a risk that we cannot reasonably measure - if construction does not go ahead at this time that some of the contractors, who have successfully tendered for work packages may not hold their prices, and could even withdraw their submission. As a result, hubNorth, our project development partner, would have to go back out to the market to re-tender the work. This would inevitably result in a significant delay and significantly increased costs which may affect the deliverability of the project.”


The spokesman continued: “A working group was created some time ago, which includes both head teachers, teaching staff, education officers and the project team, to consider ways to minimise disruption. As a result of this we have solid arrangements in place which will ensure the pupils are not adversely affected by the move.”


Describing the internal decant procedure, the spokesman said: “The bespoke modular accommodation is currently being installed and will be in place by the end of March. Over the Easter holidays extra non-teaching staff will move the English department’s resources into the temporary classrooms. This will not affect teachers or pupils; they will come back after the Easter holidays to their fully equipped classrooms.”


A council newsletter says that further information for parents on pupil drop-off arrangements, school day times, lunch arrangements and accessing the grammar school building will soon be issued.


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