Renfrewshire Council

Note of Public Meeting: Proposal to consult on Relocation of Paisley Grammar School to a new build Community Campus at Renfrew Road in Paisley, 22 September 2020

Note of Public Meeting: Proposal to consult on Relocation of Paisley Grammar School to a new build Community Campus at Renfrew Road in Paisley

Date: Tuesday 22 September 2020

Time: 6.30pm

Venue: Online via Microsoft Teams


The head of schools thanked everyone for attending the first online consultation meeting and advised that Renfrewshire Council approved a new school estate management plan (SEMP) in May 2019.

The Council continually reviews the performance of the school estate in terms of core fact findings which relate to the sufficiency, condition and suitability of buildings.

The new SEMP also includes assessment of current and future housing development; considering how new housing impacts on roll projections.

The SEMP report outlined that action is required to address the suitability of facilities at Paisley Grammar School as the overall suitability rating for this school is "C" however, a number of elements within the survey are rated as "D".

On 20 August 2020 approval was granted to consult on the proposal on the Relocation of Paisley Grammar School to a new build Community Campus at Renfrew Road in Paisley.

A presentation was delivered which outlined the Council's rationale and timeline for the proposal; highlighting that the Council aims to improve outcomes for children and young people attending Paisley Grammar School through careful management of the school estate.

Attendees were advised of Renfrewshire Council's commitment to the Equalities Act 2010.

A representative from Education Scotland attended the online meeting.


The first six questions below were submitted in advance of the meeting, the head of schools provided a response to the questions and thereafter, conducted a question and answer session with input from the education manager (resources) and head teacher.

Q There are many artefacts within the school of historical significance. Some can and may be transferred to the new school or may be distributed to conservation bodies such as Paisley Museum. Other cannot be moved. What plans are being made?

A If the proposal to relocate the school to a new community campus is approved, the historical contents of the old building can be relocated to the new campus or to an alternatively appropriate location. The cultural and historical significance of the building would be considered as part of the assessment of its future use.

Q If the school is relocated what are the options for the current location?

A If the proposal to relocate the school to a new community campus is approved the building and its grounds will be declared surplus to requirement and referred to the director of communities, housing and planning to determine future use.

Q I would like to understand timescales first build, when the new school will open if go ahead given?

A It's anticipated that the campus would be available by August 2025. A new secondary school typically takes 4 - 5 years to develop from concept to conclusion and handover.

Q Will school transport be provided for those pupils living in Ralston due to the further distance to travel?

A The Council's free school transport policy would apply for any young person entitled to attend the school who lived more than 2 miles from the school building.

Q Road safety is a big concern on Renfrew Road. How will this be made safe for kids at lunch and home time especially? The motorway traffic is often really fast and a constant stream during the daytime hours.

A Renfrewshire Council is committed to the wellbeing and safety of all children and young people. Traffic management schemes would be developed to promote positive and considerate behaviour around the school grounds and safe drop off facilities ensure appropriate levels of pedestrian / vehicular segregation and Children's Services would ensure the Council's road safety teams were central to the development of safe walking routes.

Q If the proposal proceeds, what is the anticipated timescale for the new school being open?

A It's anticipated that the campus would be available by August 2025. A new secondary school typically takes 4 - 5 years to develop from concept to conclusion and handover.

Q Will the slides be available after the meeting?

A Yes, the presentation will be e-mailed to individuals who registered to attend.

Q Would new building have outdoor PE facilities?

A The new community campus would have facilities which are fit for purpose. There is sufficient space at the identified site to accommodate both indoor and outdoor PE facilities. This will allow the full PE entitlement to be delivered to pupils on-site removing the need for any travel to alternative facilities.

Q With regards to ongoing capacity has the growing number of houses being built off Hawkhead Road been factored into the estimates for future needs?

A Yes, new house builds are factored into our roll projections. The current school roll is under 1000 and our proposal is for a new build around 1175. This figure will be kept under review and we will continue to liaise with our planning colleagues and seek developer contributions where we are able to do so.

Q With regards to road safety and access there was an accident last week on Renfrew road that created severe congestion, and I believe closure in 1 direction. Given there will be a future need for some children to be provided with transport what are the council plans to adequately ensure children are able to make it to the school campus not only safely but on time daily?

A Traffic management schemes would be developed including safe drop off facilities within the school grounds and the Council's road safety teams will be central to the development of safe walking routes and travel plans to ensure children and young people get to school on time.

Q I would second the concerns over the road safety and access on the Renfrew Road site, there is already considerable congestion around the one way system through Paisley, with a number of learners travelling from the Hawkhead/Ralston areas of Paisley, to have a clear plan on transportation of learners?

A Home to school transport will be provided in line with Council policy. The design process will fully consider road safety concerns and look at options that allow children to be dropped off / collected from within the school grounds.

Q Road safety on Renfrew Rd has always been terrible. With motorway traffic and now the retail units how will it be workable at peak times? Will the roads have more congestion in the local areas at these times?

A Traffic management schemes would be developed to promote positive and considerate behaviour around the school grounds and safe drop off facilities ensure appropriate levels of pedestrian / vehicular segregation and Children's Services would ensure the Council's road safety teams were central to the development of safe walking routes.

Q With regard to home to school travel, has any thought been given to providing safe cycle routes from the catchment area to the school?

A Children's Services will work with the Council's road safety teams on safe walking routes and sustainable travel plans which will consider cycling and wheeling to school.

Q Currently Home Economics teachers are in short supply but would there be kitchen facilities built within the school for children to learn in?

A The aspirations for the new community campus is to provide the full range of curriculum activities for all children attending. The Council will recruit staff to support the delivery of the curriculum where this is required.

Q Given the lead time you mentioned for a new building, what plans are in place to maintain/improve the present building if classed as unsatisfactory?

A There are challenges facing the existing building, however, the Council is committed to maintaining the existing building. £750,000 was invested last year to improve internal facilities including toilets, flooring and decoration. The SMT within the school will continue to liaise with Children's Services officers regarding any issues arising.

Q Would a drama studio be part of the new estate?

A Yes, the new community campus would have facilities which are fit for purpose.

Q With regard to proposed new school will the Council seek to use this relocation and be bold and target a reduction in class sizes as part of the development and improve the learning opportunities for the children?

A It is envisaged that the educational experience of children will be enhanced through the provision of bespoke resources which will be available at the new campus. At the design stage, parents / carers and the wider school community will be consulted. The Council will liaise with relevant partners to ensure the design is informed nationally and internationally.

Q Will there be a physical connection to the West College?

A No, there will not be a physical connection.

Q Will there be any plans to improve the passenger railway bridge at Gallowhill?

A Children's Services would ensure the Council's road safety teams were central to the development of safe walking routes.

Q In addition to traditional academic learning will the new school include facilities for more vocational qualifications to provide a better range of opportunities for those that decide that would be a better fit for their future needs?

A Although there will not be a physical connection to West College Scotland the close proximity will present exciting opportunities and the school would look at the options available to possibility offer an increased range of vocational qualifications in working in partnership with the College.

Q Would there be special needs facilities built in to accommodate children who require extra assistance?

A The new community campus would be developed in line with current building regulations and the equalities act. The existing school has as support base and there are no plans to change this.

Q What other sites have been considered as possible sites and why were they ruled out in favour of the Chivas Regal site for wider consultation?

A The range of sites considered are detailed within the consultation documentation. The other sites were ruled out as they were not under Council ownership or large enough. The site being taken forward within the proposal is big enough to accommodate the size of building required for the new community campus and aligns with the Council's regeneration aspirations.

Q Will FF&E be new? In terms of migration of staff and students, will this be done during the summer of 2025 to remove impact on the curriculum. If there is slippage, will migration be undertaken during future holiday periods such as October or December?

A Yes, the furniture, fittings and equipment at the new community campus will all be new. The construction will be kept under review and there will be a degree of resilience built into the timescales. The preference is to move during the summer holidays as this will ensure all staff and children and young people receive essential orientation of the building.

Q Can you please consider establishing quiet/prayer room for girls and separate one for boys?

A Your question has been noted and this will be considered.

Q Will public transport links to and from the school be looked at even to areas which may be over the 2 mile radius? I am a firm believer in high school children being able to make their way to school independently.

A The Council's free school transport policy would be available to any young person entitled to attend the school who lived more than 2 miles from the school building. Children's Services cannot influence bus routes but the question of alternative transport arrangements to school will form part of the discussion with the road safety team.

Q Will the new building be carbon neutral meeting Scottish government targets of carbon neutral by 2045?

A The new community campus will be built to meet current building regulations and sustainable planning will be considered as part of this process.

Q Would a swimming pool make up part of the PE facilities?

A It is unlikely that a swimming pool will form part of the PE facilities, as the maintenance and running costs are significant. The Lagoon Leisure Centre is run by Renfrewshire Leisure and has swimming pool facilities near-by that the community can make use of.

Q I struggled to get on to Teams tonight and was late to the meeting - will notes be circulated?

A Yes, the notes will be made available on the Council website in due course with the presentation being e-mailed to individuals who registered to attend.