Ballantrae school fire ‘devastating’

Ballantrae Primary School will be closed indefinitely following a major fire.
Ballantrae Primary School will be closed indefinitely following a major fire.

Six fire appliances fought a blaze at Ballantrae Primary School on Monday evening, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirming there were no casualties.

The fire – contained within the main school building – caused extensive damage to the existing classroom and early years provision at the school. A new extension, currently under construction, was unaffected.

Fifty eight P1-P7 children are expected to move to Girvan Primary from Thursday, June 7, once suitable arrangements are in place to transport pupils and staff.

Plans are also underway to relocate the 13 early years children to Ballantrae Community Centre, keeping them within the local community.

The intention is to introduce the changes for the early years centre from Monday, June 11; however, this will be subject to finalising arrangements with both Ballantrae Community Association and the Care Inspectorate, who will need to register the centre before it can be used.

A drop-in session will be held at Ballantrae Community Centre between 4pm-6pm tomorrow (Wednesday) to update parents/carers and to give them the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

Ballantrae Primary’s head teacher, Yvonne Templeton, said: “We’re all devastated by what’s happened. Our school is very much at the heart of the community in Ballantrae and I know this will have an impact on everyone not just within the school, but across our village.

“However, we can all be grateful that no one was hurt in the fire.”

“My focus will be on supporting our children, staff, parents and carers while we’re decanted from the school we know and love, but I know we’ll take the spirit and ethos of Ballantrae Primary wherever we are.”

Councillor William Grant, South Ayrshire Council’s portfolio holder for lifelong learning, said: “This is a really sad end to the school year at Ballantrae Primary and I know it will have affected everyone in this tight-knit community.

“I’m pleased we have been able to move so quickly to put alternative arrangements in place for children and staff, keeping the loss of education time to an absolute minimum, which is a positive outcome. And my thanks to everyone involved in achieving this, especially colleagues at Girvan Primary and Ballantrae Community Centre.

“At this time it’s too early for us to have a clear picture of the extent of the damage to the school building and the work that will be involved to bring it back into use. However, there’s no doubt interim education arrangements will need to run well into the new school year and it could be many months before pupils can return.

“Our priority will be to maintain quality learning and teaching for our children during this time and that’s what we will focus on.”