Finally, before voting tomorrow, here’s what we have to say about Education and Life-Long Learning in our Aberdeenshire Manifesto.
Nothing Aberdeenshire Council does is more important than educating our young people. That view will always inform our choice of priorities when the Council faces difficult budget decisions.
The number of primary-school pupils in Aberdeenshire has risen sharply over the last five years, increasing by over 1,600 or more than eight per cent. A further overall six per cent increase in the Aberdeenshire pupil population is forecast by 2022. That increase is expected to be very unevenly distributed across Aberdeenshire, with a rise of eleven per cent in Garioch (an extra 1000 pupils) and Kincardine and Mearns (an extra 900 pupils).
Responding to these dramatic increases in pupil numbers will be an on-going challenge for the Council. Green councillors will press for the increased resources needed. We will support investment in the school estate to provide additional accommodation. It will also be essential for the Council to continue with innovative approaches to teacher recruitment. For example, forecast increases in pupil numbers will require action to provide capacity in the Stonehaven school network, and in Newmachar.
We welcome the improved Aberdeenshire attainment statistics of the last two years and support the focus on teaching and learning that has contributed to them.
We attach great importance to community learning and development and have protected its budget since 2015. We will continue to support investment in the community learning and development service and in youth work.
We want the Council to thoroughly explore the potential for developing a significant visual arts, museum or other cultural facility alongside its proposed new office building in Harlaw Road, Inverurie.
You can view our full Aberdeenshire manifesto here.