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Aberdeen sets its sights on Euro shake-up for schools

ABERDEEN is poised to emulate the Danish pattern of combined primary and secondary schools on the same site in the most radical approach yet to the problems of surplus places.

The first meeting of the city's new education committee on Wednesday ratified a plan to ease pressure on four city secondaries. It follows a visit to Denmark late last year by John Stodter, Aberdeen's director of education.

Torry Academy and Dyce Academy, both of which are half-full, are the two secondaries expected to pilot a new approach to primary-secondary liaison.

Meanwhile, the half-empty Linksfield Academy, which shares the east side of the city with the popular St Machar Academy, may be linked by making one a lower secondary and the other an upper secondary college, supported by the neighbouring universities and FE college. This would allow the upper secondary to focus on Higher Still provision and new technology links.

The overflowing Aberdeen Grammar is due to expand and may have a new annex.

The city has been reviewing secondary education for the past six months, examining demographic trends, the impact of curriculum changes, the social inclusion agenda and school capacities.

Feasibility studies over the next four months will examine the plans in detail. This will be followed by further informal consultation before a final stage of formal consultation, leading to a fresh start in August next year.

Mr Stodter said the model for closer primary-secondary liaison had a strong European heritage and would ease P6 to S2 transition difficulties. "It could mean specialists in the upper primary and could reduce the number of subjects in lower secondary. This allows us to address capacity issues and also educational attainment issues like S1-S2," he said.

Mr Stodter added: "Scottish education in the past has had a uniform system but with new community schools and so on, you are going to have a more diverse system. Everyone wants these things to be explored" He believes all schools will eventually become new community schools, expanding their role and working with other professionals. The city was looking at local issues but keeping its eye on the bigger national picture.

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