Committee hears councillors objections at lack of plans to extend West Lothian school

Bathgate councillors are unhappy that there is no plan to extended Bathgate Academy despite the number of new homes planned.

At this month’s meeting of the Bathgate Local area Committee three of the town’s four representatives, led by chair Councillor Harry Cartmill tabled questions of the future of high school education in the town.

Questions arose in presentation of aspects of the new Local Development Plan which highlights new housing , and infrastructure development planned for Bathgate.

The report specified on Bathgate Academy:”Extension not considered feasible and not being progressed,  alternative catchment review solution to be identified.”

Councillor Cartmill said: “I’m disappointed that there will be no extension to Bathgate Academy. Could we have that question put to the relevant officers and get a written answer. It ‘s a key question.”

The councillor pointed out that there was vacant land behind the school - around an acre- which could be used.

He said: “I don’t understand why we couldn’t build there rather than have the upheaval of another catchment review.”

He added that an alternative catchment review could see pupils bussed outwith town for secondary education as had once been the case with teens going to Armadale.

Councillor Willie Boyle said: “Without another secondary education Bathgate that means transporting children outwith Bathgate and I’m greatly concerned about this. I would like more information.”

Councillor John McGinty added his own questions: “First, when do we forecast the pupil intake numbers for the Bathgate Academy will exceed capacity? The second is, what is the current anticipated timescale for the review? Presumably offcers have a timescale in mind. The third question is to clarify at an early stage whether it would be review  of the existing academy catchment or whether it would be a review of the current primary school feeder catchments to push pupils that would have gone to Bathgate Academy to other schools?”

Councillor Cartmill said: “We’ve asked these questions - it’s fundamental for the town, for our young people. To have leave to go to one of the Livingston schools will cause much uproar. I’m dismayed especially when there is land behind the academy.”

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