A total of 19 schools in Aberdeenshire will be over capacity in four years, figures released by the local authority reveal.
Aberdeenshire Council’s school roll statistics for 2019 show that 19 schools out of 173 will be over subscribed by 2024.
The forecasts predict Meldrum, Kemnay, Inverurie, Portlethen and Mearns academies will be among those above capacity in four years time.
According to a paper to be presented to the council’s education committee next Thursday, Meldrum Academy is currently over capacity with a current school roll of 989 against a capacity of 980.
The local authority has already made the decision to restrict placing requests at the school, along with carrying out an options appraisal to look at solutions for the increase in pupils.
But by 2024, the number of pupils at the school is predicted to rise from 989 to 1,037 – making it over capacity by 57.
Meanwhile, Kemnay Academy also faces a significant rise, with forecasts showing the number of pupils could increase from its current roll of 941, which is already above the 700 capacity, to 1,037.
The report to councillors said: “Kemnay Academy has a working capacity of 950 due to the temporary units which are on site.
“Work is programmed to reconfigure some spaces within the school to increase flexibility and support timetabling.”
The figures also reveal a total of seven primary schools face being under capacity by 2024, including Crathie School, which is forecast to have seven pupils but a capacity of 47.
The school roll data is based on the annual census which took place in September 2019 and shows there are currently 21,004 primary pupils and 14,765 secondary pupils.
The report added: “This is a decrease of 46 primary pupils and an increase of 120 secondary pupils from 2018.
“This is the second year that overall primary pupils have fallen following years of growth.
“This can be attributed to particularly large cohorts in primary six and primary seven moving up to secondary school and a continued reduction in housebuilding against developer aspirations.”
But the forecasts currently indicate that by 2024, rolls will have increased to 21,555 primary pupils and 16,032 secondary pupils, an increase of 1,818 pupils attending the region’s schools.
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Meanwhile, councillors on the committee will also be asked to agree that the council take steps to develop its own school counselling provision, by funding one school counsellor senior practitioner and 12 school counsellors.
It comes after the local authority received cash from the Scottish Government as part of a nationwide move to create around 350 new counsellor positions in schools.
Aberdeenshire Council was allocated £574,000 for 2019-20 and a further commitment of £774,000 per year for the next three years to create new posts.
But a report to members of the committee states it is “likely” there will be “insufficient numbers of suitably qualified and experienced candidates”.
It adds: “Aberdeenshire Council will address this shortfall by commissioning an external provider to support trainee counsellors through an accredited counselling diplomac course.”