Consultation on future of Milton of Balgonie Primary School

Fife councillors have agreed to carry out a statutory consultation exercise on the future of Milton of Balgonie Primary School.

A small rural school, with capacity for 75 pupils, Milton of Balgonie's school roll steadily declined from 45 pupils in 2003, falling to zero in 2019.

The school was "mothballed” in early 2021 in accordance with Scottish Government guidance, as the roll had fallen to and remained at zero. Mothballing was recommended to provide an opportunity for the school to reopen if circumstances changed. In the meantime, any new catchment pupils have since been offered a place at Coaltown of Balgonie Primary School.

As required, reviews of the decision to mothball the school were carried out, in November 2021 and June 2022, based on the school roll, the projected roll and any feedback received from stakeholders.

Fife's education spokesperson Cllr. Cara Hilton explained: " A third review, in June 2023, has again highlighted that no parents or carers of pupils living in this area have formally requested that the school should be reopened. Births in the catchment area have not significantly increased in the last year and the one development site for this catchment area has not yet received planning consent. That means there is no guarantee that housebuilding will commence soon.

"This is the fifth academic session where the school within the Milton of Balgonie village has had no pupils enrolled. All parents living in the catchment area have accepted a place in Coaltown of Balgonie Primary School; the catchment denominational school or have made placing requests to alternative schools.

"Today's decision means that officers can now progress to a formal consultation period with a proposal to close Milton of Balgonie Primary School and to rezone the catchment areas of Coaltown of Balgonie, Pitteuchar East and Thornton Primary Schools. I would encourage parents and the local community to get involved in the consultation and ensure their voices are heard."

If the closure proposal is approved, following consideration of the consultation report by a future Cabinet Committee, consideration will be given to other educational uses for the site.

The full report on the future of Milton of Balgonie Primary School and the planned consultation is available in the Cabinet Committee papers of 11 Jan 2024.