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HIGHLAND COUNCILLORS AGREE TO BRING SCHOOL BACK INTO FOLD

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Members of The Highland Council's education committee agreed unanimously yesterday to set the wheels in motion to b...
Members of The Highland Council's education committee agreed unanimously yesterday to set the wheels in motion to bring Scotland's first self-governing secondary school back under council management. It is proposed that the 158-pupil Dornoch Academy, which opted out in April 1994, will be back in the fold by 1 August, this year.

The education committee agreed to:

* Establish formal consultative mechanisms for a voluntary

agreement with the Board of Management of Dornoch Academy for a return

to council management

* Request the secretary of state for Scotland to produce

regulations enabling Dornoch Academy to return

* Instruct the director of education to liaise closely with the

the chairman and vice-chairman of the education committee and the

Sutherland county committee and the board of management of Dornoch

Academy in finalising the consultation

* Instruct the director of education to report back to the

education committee on 10 March and the full council on 22 April with

progress on the proposals

The board of management require to pass two resolutions and publish

proposals for submission to the secretary of state to discontinue as a

self-governing school.

Delineated areas for the 'new secondary school' in Dornoch would need to be defined as well as for affected neighbouring schools during the

consultation process.

Committee members heard that the board of management had express a clear wish to return to council management. On 1 April 1994, Dornoch Academy became the first school in Scotland to be granted self-governing status as a two-year secondary. It was later granted a 'change in circumstances' to upgrade to full six-year status. This resulted in decisions on employing staff and managing finances transferred to the board of management. The school roll is presently 158, spread over S1-5.

Convener Peter Peacock said: 'This ends a divisive chapter

in the life of education in the Highlands. There is now much to be done to give Dornoch pupils the support that is needed and that will allow the school to develop in a way that would never be possible if it remained isolated and alone in its opted-out status. Our interest is with the pupils and their future - that is best served as being within the family of good Highland secondary schools.'

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