The Labour Group on Dumfries and Galloway Council has welcomed the decision by the Council’s Education Committee (27 May) to agree in principle that King George V should be the preferred site for a planned Learning Hub.
The committee agreed that King George V, which scored highest within council’s agreed criteria, should be the preferred location subject to a public consultation through a Nithsdale Area Committee and following consideration of detailed costings and a full affordability assessment.
The £11 million Hub is part of phase one of the ambitious Dumfries Learning Town plans which will also include a new Maxwelltown High School and the refurbishment of St Joseph’s College. Phase 2 will see a new Dumfries High School built, along with the refurbishment of Dumfries Academy.
The preferred site has the backing of Teachers through the EIS. Ahead of the meeting today councillors were also sent a letter from teachers who are members of the Dumfries Learning Town project team warning that locating the Hub at the Crichton would undermine the aim of the whole project (copy of letter attached). In their letter the group warned that "Our carefully considered view is that if the favoured option is the Crichton site, it will undermine both the central aim of the project- to give increased and equal opportunities to all children in Dumfries- and the current belief that the ambitious and exciting Dumfries Learning Town project has evolved dramatically since its inception, in response to the views of parents, pupils, staff and members of the community and beyond".
Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council Ronnie Nicholson said, “The Council agreed a criteria for determining the preferred location of the Hub and this scored King George V the highest. I’m pleased this has been backed by councillors. More importantly, this decision has the support of the people we trust with our kids education- our teachers. The public will now have their say on whether they back the site as the best location and if they do, we can move ahead with this exciting proposal”.
Chair of the Council’s Education Committee Jeff Leaver said, “This was an important step forward in our ambitious plans for Dumfries Learning Town which is really starting to take shape. As well as agreeing in principle our preferred location, we also agreed the detailed function of the Hub which will provide a range of specialist subjects and vocational courses that currently can’t be provided within individual schools. It will be a unique initiative and be ground breaking and ensure Dumfries and Galloway Council is leading the rest of Scotland.”