Renfrewshire Council

Statement on Dargavel independent review

A series of recommendations are being implemented in full by Renfrewshire Council following publication of the independent review into the historic assessment of education demand for Dargavel Village.

The report, published today (Thursday 15 June 2023), provides a detailed analysis of the situation which led to a serious error in projections for educational demand. 

Council Chief Executive Alan Russell has issued an unreserved apology in response and renewed his commitment to work with parents and carers to deliver on the recommendations and give all pupils the very best educational experience. 

He said: "On behalf of Renfrewshire Council, I am deeply sorry for the very serious historic mistakes made over a prolonged period and for the understandable distress caused to local communities in the area.    

"This is a very difficult report for the Council and will be equally upsetting for the Dargavel community. I fully acknowledge the review findings and accept all its recommendations." 

Work to progress a new primary school for 800 pupils in Dargavel is already underway and discussions are ongoing with landowners BAE to secure a site.  

Temporary classrooms are being installed at Dargavel Primary School this summer and longer-term planning includes a secondary school extension at Park Mains High School and using capacity at Bishopton Primary School, with a supporting wider catchment review. 

Chief Executive Alan Russell added: "Detailed work is progressing at pace to increase pupil capacity and to improve our processes and procedures.  

"We are doing everything possible to give all pupils the very best learning experience and I want to assure parents and carers across Dargavel village the current leadership team are united in our commitment to put this right. 

"We have already committed to a new primary school for the area and remain in discussion with BAE to secure a local site to enable us to progress our plans. I have also written to BAE's Chief Executive to underline the need to work together to do the fair and just thing for families in Dargavel that allows a solution to be progressed." 

The review recommendations include the need for a robust model of school need for Dargavel and to reconsider the catchment areas. 

In response, the Council has developed detailed roll projection models working with data specialists and these are being continually reviewed and updated, incorporating live data to inform primary and secondary school capacity need. 

The Council continues to seek to work cooperatively with BAE and to strengthen its corporate working, two areas highlighted in the 94-page report. 

No senior officers involved in the development are still with the council, with the new Chief Executive and new leadership team committed to collaborative corporate working and rebuilding public trust. 

The independent review and the Council response were published today ahead of being considered by councillors at the Council meeting on 22 June 2023. 

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: "The initial details make for extremely difficult reading, particularly for those who raised concerns over many years and were not listened so, some going back as far as 2008.

"As an administration we will take the time to consider this report and its findings and ensure we work closely with officers to rectify the mistakes of the past. I have sought assurances from the Chief Executive and welcome his commitment to work together, openly and transparently, with parents and carers across Dargavel to deliver the high-quality learning and teaching environment all pupils deserve."

Published on 15 June 2023

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