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August 28, 2003

£6m school plan for blind and deaf kids

From: Glasgow Evening Times, UK - Aug 28, 200

by Jonathan Paisley

EDUCATION bosses are planning to build a £6million school for blind and deaf children in Glasgow.

The new site would include a three-bedroom residential unit, therapy suites, and recreational areas.

Two specialist schools would merge under the proposals and move to a new site near Bellahouston Park.

Kelvin School, which teaches 43 blind children from across the west of Scotland, would close as part of the plans.

The school, next to Yorkhill Hospital For Sick Children, was built in 1935 and is crumbling.

Carnbooth School in Carmunnock will also be closed. It was built in 1900 and has 14 pupils, aged from three to 18. It is the only facility in Scotland that currently teaches deaf and blind children.

Council chiefs hope the new school will be able to assess children from all over Scotland and also help train staff from other local authorities.

Both sets of school boards will be asked to make written submissions on the proposals by the start of October.

Education bosses have promised staff, parents and relevant voluntary groups will be consulted over the new facility.

The council's education committee was expected to back the plans at a meeting today.

A report to be discussed by councillors said: "As a building, Kelvin School has been assessed as being in a critical and distressed condition.

"Despite remedial work it remains essentially unfit for its purpose.

"While Carnbooth School remains in relatively sound condition, it is anticipated upgrading would be required.

"The new school will provide continuity and a strong foundation to cater for the combined population."

Children who attend Carnbooth return home at weekends and school holidays and staff devise a home training programme for pre-school children.

Before local authority reorganisation in 1996, Kelvin School won a lengthy battle with Strathclyde Regional Council to remain open and is now recognised as one of Scotland's leading specialist schools.

Today's council meeting will also discuss plans for a review of mainstream primary schools across the city, which could lead to some school closures.

Education bosses say there are too many schools for the declining number of pupils at the city's 197 primaries. There are now 43,000 pupils, a drop of more than 65,000 since 1970.

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