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MOTHBALLED HIGHLAND SCHOOL REOPENS
Altnaharra Primary School, in Sutherland opened for the new school session with three pupils in the primary school - Tiegan Johnstone (4 years) – Primary 1; Chloe Murphy (7) – P3; and Etienne Murphy (10) – P 6; as well as two pupils in the nursery class – Christina Bakker (3) and Ryan Johnstone (3).
The decision to reopen the school followed a request from the community for the Council to re-assess educational provision.
Councillor Alison Magee, Convener of The Highland Council, said: "The school has always been the focal point of the community and it was a sad day in 2002 when we had to mothball it. Many people must have thought it would never open again so I am delighted that we were able to work with the community to reverse the decision.
"Reopening the school is great news for everyone. As well as saving pupils from a round trip of nearly 50 miles to travel to the primary department at Farr High School, which in the winter can cause concern about their safety to parents, it will also attract people with young families to live and work in the area."
The nearest school with a permanent Head Teacher is Lairg Primary School. Under a special cluster arrangement Head Teacher Isobel Gillies will manage both schools. Full time teaching at Altnaharra will be provided by primary teacher, Kirsten MacGruer, and nursery auxiliary Lisa Thomson.
Councillor Andy Anderson, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee, was at Altnaharra Primary School to welcome the new pupils, parents and staff on their first day at school.
He said: "I am very pleased that the Council has been able to respond to the local community in such a positive way This demonstrates our commitment to rural communities and that our policy of mothballing schools in rural areas is working."