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, 30 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: Wednesday 30 September 2020

Time: 6.30pm

Venue: Online via Microsoft Teams


The director of children's services thanked everyone for attending the second 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.

Two representatives from Education Scotland attended the online meeting.

Attendees were advised of:

  • Renfrewshire Council's commitment to the Equalities Act 2010
  • that 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 and the cultural and historical significance of the building would be considered as part of the assessment of its future use
  • that the proposed site presented excellent opportunities in terms of size, scope and design.

The first two questions below were submitted in advance of the meeting, the director of children's services 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 Will there be a bridge built from the Shortroods and Gockston area to the school? At the moment the children would have to walk in an almost complete circle to reach a part of the town they can practically see from their homes.

A Renfrewshire Council is committed to the wellbeing and safety of all children and young people. Traffic management, road safety, safe walking routes and all other environmental factors would be addressed through the design development process.

Q What safety measures will be taken given the proposed location is on a busy dual carriageway? My children attend the Grammar on a placing request, we live in Renfrew. There is no safe crossing at the B&Q roundabout / motorway slip road.

A Traffic management, road safety, safe walking routes and all other environmental factors would be addressed through the design development process and it was also noted that two secondary schools were previously located on Renfrew Road.

Q Are there more children in the catchment area around Renfrew Road?

A The school covers a large catchment area within Paisley, we will ensure the catchment map is added to our website consultation pages. The exact number of pupils from around the Renfrew Road area is not available, however, the young people who attend the school come from feeder schools located within Paisley that include Gallowhill Primary School, Mossvale Primary School, Ralston Primary School, Todholm Primary School and Williamsburgh Primary School.

Q How will existing children at the Grammar get to school

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 and green travel plans will be developed to support young people to walk, cycle or wheel to the new campus

Q Does Paisley Grammar still use the Penilee playing fields?

A Paisley Grammar makes use of the Renfrewshire Leisure Site located at Seedhill Playing Fields for the delivery of PE. The school does not use Penilee playing fields for the delivery of curricular activities.

Q What will happen to the existing site?

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 Will there be further consultation?

A When the consultation exercise is concluded, this will end the process. The communication channels available to individuals to submit their views/ comments/ concerns were highlighted as part of the presentation and will be e-mailed to everyone who registered to attend the meeting.

Q What is the timeline to complete?

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 Are you considering other sites?

A The range of sites considered are detailed within the consultation documentation. The current site was not large enough to accommodate a new build school with the outdoor facilities required while the existing school remained operational. The other sites were ruled out as they were not under Council ownership or large enough or had problematic access arrangements. 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 Is there plans to amend/change the catchment

A No.

Q What if the plans are not approved? What happens then?

A Children's services officers believe this is the right thing to do as the new community campus would have facilities which are fit for purpose and available for wider community use. Elected members will approve or reject the proposal in January 2021. If the proposal is not approved, elected members may task children's services officers with looking at alternatives. If the proposal is approved parents / carers young people and staff and the wider school community will have the opportunity to contribute to the design development process which is also informed by relevant partners both nationally and internationally.

Q Is it possible for the council to say what they are considering for the existing site before the consultation has ended?

A No. 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 Has work begun on developing a budget?

A The council will work with Scottish Futures Trust to agree the budget required based on the size of the new build community campus. The council has identified some of the capital spend required and will submit a proposal to the Scottish Government to access funding available to local authorities.

Q Can you give some examples of the facilities that will be available for the children should the new build go ahead?

A The new community campus would have facilities which are fit for purpose now and in the future and the curriculum and needs of the school and wider community will drive the design. 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. The close proximity to West College Scotland will also present unique and 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 Will the design now have to take into account potential social distancing for learning areas?

A The curriculum and needs of the school and wider community will drive the design and given the current pandemic this may need to consider areas that were not considered previously. The Council will liaise with relevant partners to ensure the design is informed nationally and internationally.

Q What happens if the move isn't approved?

A This consultation exercise will inform the decision and the elected members will approve or reject the proposal in January 2021. If the proposal is not approved, elected members may task children's services officers with looking at alternatives. At the moment, we believe this is the right solution and there is no alternative.

Q I believe the new school is the best option and I'm pleased to hear the new school will have outdoor facilities that can be developed. The other issues for example safety/ transport can be managed over time.

A Thank you for your comments. I acknowledge that the current building presents challenges in respect of the delivery of the curriculum. The feedback we have received so far has indicated that individuals are reasonably happy with the new campus proposal.

Q It sounds like it will be a large campus. Have you considered that it may lose the feeling of being a local high school? Could that be detrimental to the kids? Especially those coming from a small primary setting.

A The feeder primary schools vary in size. The council will make best use of the design and one of our priorities in developing the design will be to ensure the young people have a sense of community and are proud of their new school.

Q Janice, are you and the majority of the teachers in favour? Are the pupils in favour?

A Absolutely, the young people and staff are also for it and the young people will respond formally to the consultation exercise. The current building has challenges and is not fit for purpose, which becomes clear to children when visiting other secondary schools. The opportunities the new community campus would offer would be phenomenal. Some individuals have an attachment with the building, but the new building will be far better equipped to deliver a wider curriculum.

Q Will the school still be called Paisley Grammar School if it is moved?

A Yes, the school name will remain as is and the community campus would be available for wider community use out with school times.

Q What else is planned to be built on the site? Is it all to be allocated to the school?

A This response has been provided by our planning colleagues post meeting. Part of the current Chivas site (about 25%) is being purchased from Chivas by Scottish Leather Group for a new factory and the remainder of the site (about 16 acres) is being sold to the Council to accommodate a new community campus. The use of the remaining site will become clear when a design has been prepared and would be subject to the normal consultation process with any planning application for new buildings.

Q Would there be bike sheds?

A Yes. The Council's road safety teams will be central to the development of travel plans.

Q The proposed location has lots of options for off-site catering. The range of school meal choices is limited and do not meet a range of dietary requirements for example my family's preference is halal.

A I acknowledge that a large number of young people leave the existing school at lunchtime through personal choice. The school can support a range of d