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Rural Schools Written Answer, 07/11/12 [S]

Written Answer given in response to Jamie Hepburn's (SNP) question asking the Scottish Government what the criteria are for determining whether or not a school is classified as rural under the terms of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010; and what the process is for reclassifying a school as rural under the terms of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Michael Russell, replied that the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 requires Scottish Ministers to maintain a list of rural schools. Section 14 of the 2010 Act states that in determining the question of rurality when considering whether a school falls to be included in or excluded from the list of rural schools, the Scottish Ministers are to have regard (in particular) toŚ

(a) the population of the community (or settlement) in which the school is located,
(b) the geographical circumstances of that community (or settlement) including its
relative remoteness or inaccessibility.

The Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification, provides a standard definition of rural areas in Scotland. The rural school list is prepared using this classification system with 3 different classifications for rural school (Accessible Rural, Remote Rural and Very Remote Rural). These classifications are based on the settlement size where the school is located and also by the drive time to another settlement.

The Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification is updated every two years, and the most recent version was published in August 2012. Following the update of the Classification, the Rural Schools List is them amended to take account of the revisions. This review also takes place every two years with the next review planned for Spring 2013. As the classification of schools as rural is based on the population density of their postcode area, this classification may change over time as settlements expand or contract.

The Scottish Government is aware that some local authorities have indicated that current rural school list may include a small number of anomalies.

It is open to an education authority to raise a concern they might have about the post code allocation for a school with the Post Office and enquire whether the post code could be changed to that of an adjacent post code area.

For the full answer to this and other questions see the Scottish Parliament Written Answer Report 7 November 2012 which is available from the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

Scottish Parliament Written Answer Report 7 November 2012