Argyll and Bute ‘welcomes community efforts to improve schools’

North Bute Primary School's playground received some TLC over the summer holidays with help from pupils, parents, school staff and residents of Port Bannatyne.

North Bute Primary School's playground received some TLC over the summer holidays with help from pupils, parents, school staff and residents of Port Bannatyne.

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For the first time, Argyll and Bute Council has given what it calls “a clear signal” that it welcomes offers of help from local communities to improve its schools.

The news is likely to be seen as a boost for groups such as the parent council at North Bute Primary in Port Bannatyne, which has worked hard to establish close links with the village community - and where improvements to the school’s playground over the summer holiday were carried out with the help of parents, school staff and local residents.

The move comes after the Scottish Government’s Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education recommended in April that “local authorities should encourage and accept help with school fabric and maintenance from parents and communities where appropriate”.

At a meeting in Lochgilphead on Thursday the council agreed to issue an updated Education Management Circular (EMC) reflecting the Commission’s recommendation.

In a report to Thursday’s council meeting, Cleland Sneddon, the authority’s executive director of community services, said: “The intention is to send a clear signal that such offers are to be welcomed and what considerations have to be met to ensure that the works may progress safely.”

The revised EMC states that subject to offers of help meeting quality, health and safety and insurance standards, “there is a presumption to take advantage of community assistance wherever practicable or to give advice as to how a proposal could be framed to meet those standards”.

North Bute is to host an open day this Sunday, September 1, to show off the community’s efforts in improving the school playground. The event runs from 1pm to 3pm and will be opened by local councillor Robert Macintyre.