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Council re-opens disused primary for pupils from private school forced to close

A disused primary school will open tomorrow to accommodate pupils from a private school which was ordered to close on Friday after inspectors raised safety concerns.

Aberdeen City Council said it has worked over the weekend to prepare Braeside School, which is now ready and will be open for pupils from The Hamilton School from 9am tomorrow.

The Scottish Government ordered an immediate inspection of The Hamilton School in Aberdeen earlier this month after complaints from parents and staff about the nursery prompted a police investigation.

Inspectors said they were not confident pupils were ''safe and well cared for'' and the Government ordered the school to be removed from the Register of Independent Schools, which means that as of February 22 it could no longer operate as a school.

A joint statement from Aberdeen City Council, Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate said that fully qualified teachers will staff Braeside School, including a very experienced head teacher, and that educational psychology services will also be on hand.

Continuity of teaching staff will be maintained as far as possible, to ensure stability for the children.

Bill Maxwell, chief executive of Education Scotland said: "I want to assure all those affected that the closure of the school was necessary to ensure the safety and welfare of the children attending there.

"We will continue to work with the Scottish Government, the Care Inspectorate and Aberdeen City Council to provide support and assistance during this difficult time."

The Care Inspectorate served an improvement notice on The Hamilton School Nursery, which is covered by separate legislation, earlier this month, requiring urgent changes around life-saving medication, nutrition and staffing.

It has applied to Aberdeen Sheriff Court seeking suspension of the nursery's registration and said a hearing has been fixed for Wednesday.

A nursery spokesman said it will not open tomorrow and parents have been informed.

Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate said they are "rapidly" working with Aberdeen City Council to look at alternative provisions.

Annette Bruton, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: "Senior staff from the Care Inspectorate are in Aberdeen to meet with parents and families whose children attended the nursery and our helpline will be open on Monday on 0845 6009527.

"We stand ready to support other nurseries and childminders in Aberdeen seeking to expand, where it is safe to do so. Our urgent application to the court last Friday to close the nursery was necessary to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of young children who were not safe.

"The decision of the provider to close the nursery is, we believe - given the evidence we hold - in the best interests of children, although we know this makes it a very difficult time for parents and families."

Representatives from Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate will be available all day tomorrow at the Hilton Aberdeen Treetops Hotel on Springfield Road in Aberdeen to meet parents and carers affected by the school and nursery closure from 8.30am until early evening.

On Friday, The Hamilton School said it was stunned by the decision to close the school and is actively considering an appeal.

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