Councillor sees latest progress at Aberdeen’s new Centre of Excellence

Councillor Angela Taylor, Education and Children Service’s Convener, paid a visit yesterday (Monday 6 March) to see progress at Aberdeen’s £17 million Centre of Excellence.

The Howes Road building, due to open in August, was officially named Orchard Brae School last week, will be a hub for best practice in supporting pupils from across Aberdeen with Additional Support Needs (ASN).

The first facility of its kind in Scotland, Orchard Brae will operate as more than a complex needs school and will be a:

· Hub for outreach services such as communication and language

· New resource centre for ASN teaching and training facilities

· Community hub for families, ASN parents/ groups and charities to access

· Multi-agency facility for health, education, social work and family support

Councillor Taylor said: “It’s great to see the progress on the site and when Orchard Bae opens in August for the start of the new school year I’m sure the children will be thrilled with their new facilities and surroundings.

“This is more than just a school we are building; it will be a community hub and a centre of best practice where children and staff will be able to enhance their potential in the best possible setting.”

Caroline Stirton, the Executive Head Teacher at Orchard Brae said: “A significant amount of research, thought and planning has gone into the design of the Centre of Excellence which will incorporate Orchard Brae School. The state of the art facility will provide a central point from which children, young people who are affected by additional support needs and their families can access support and guidance from a range of partners.

“I feel really honoured to be able to play a part in shaping this model which is the first of its kind in Scotland and will help us improve the long term outcomes of our children and young people”.

A special ASN playground and garden for the whole ASN community to access and host events is also planned.

Orchard Brae will provide education and support for up to 150 full-time children and young people aged 3 to 18 years, from across Aberdeen with severe and complex educational and medical needs, and will replace Woodlands School and Hazelwood School. A pre-school additional support service, currently provided in Seaton School, will also be relocated to the new facility.