In 2008, Councillors ruled out the options of fewer and larger secondary schools and agreed that options be explored for varying levels of integration of the four existing secondary schools (with other services) and primary schools should be progressed, alongside exploring the development of a new model of education provision for young people.
Since 2009, an extensive number of discussions and events with learning partners have been undertaken and from these has emerged the concept of Dumfries Learning Town.
In July 2012, the Education Committee agreed to proceed with further consultation to develop proposals around options. Every option will focus on further aligning primary and secondary arrangements and extend involvement to other Council Services.
In October 2012, the Scottish Government announced conditional funding to support a 15+ school at the Crichton. Councillors agreed that the Dumfries Learning Town project should be treated as a priority project and that funding should be allocated, subject to further extensive consultation and Member decision.
During 2012-13 a number of seminars, information events and presentations took place to progress the Dumfries Learning Town project. A report covering all of these consultation events is available for reference:
In June 2013, an update presented to Education Committee reflected much of the work to date:
Dumfries Learning Town is about planning and delivering education on a whole town basis and not looking at schools individually. We want to make sure that all of our young people benefit equally. We want to make sure that our schools, college, Universities and local business work together for the best. Most importantly, we want to make sure that your child's school experience is the best that it can be and leads on to further study or a job.
Learning and Teaching Report
A Learning and Teaching group 3-15 and 15+ was formed in January 2013 to look at the options around Dumfries Learning Town. In May 2013, this group published a report outlining the opportunities and challenges associated with each option:
Talking Heads are short films explaining the options that are being considered in relation to Dumfries Learning Town:
Claire Renton, Schools for the Future Programme Manager provides an update on the Dumfries Learning Town project.
In September 2013, a Visioning Workshop was held at Dumfries and Galloway College. The workshop was attended by a broad range of key stakeholders for the Dumfries Learning Town project, including parents, pupils, project team staff and primary and secondary headteachers. The day included a number of activities to allow us to understand more about the project vision, the aims and the desired outcomes. Ultimately the workshop set out to establish what the project opportunities are, the key project deliverables and its measures for success.
Education towards Employability Event
We recognise it is vital that we work closely with the employers from across the region to determine what skills are needed from young people entering the world of work and how best our schools could work with employers to deliver the best for our businesses.
Dumfries and Galloway Council, in conjunction with Skills Development Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce, organised an event on 7th October 2013 to hear from and engage with employers from throughout the region. The event was aimed at finding out how our schools can better prepare young people for the world of work. It was well attended and provided a unique opportunity to take forward the review of Dumfries Schools, in conjunction with the wider employability and regeneration agendas for the town.
Parents and Headteachers evening
A presentation was given at an event on 14th November 2013 which gave Parent Councils and Headteachers an update on the latest progress with the project. This presentation gave the details of the developed options which will be considered by Education Committee on 13th December 2013.
Parent Councils and Headteachers were asked to work with parents and staff to give their input on the options by scoring their ability to meet key objectives by following the guidance to complete a scoring sheet:
The scoring sheet and guidance has also been sent electronically to schools and Parent Councils for further discussions or scoring exercises.
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