The motto of The Scout Association is ‘Be Prepared’ – and preparations have certainly been made for a primary school with a difference on the hills high above Paisley.
A partnership between the West Regional Scout Council and Paisley’s Kibble Education and Care Centre has led to a small primary school being created at the Scouts’ Lapwing Lodge Outdoor Centre, on the Gleniffer Braes.
Kibble has started educating children of primary school age for the first time and it’s hoped pupils will benefit from the countryside environment and being able to get some of their lessons outdoors.
The new day school in part of the Lapwing Lodge building will teach a small number of primary pupils who haven’t settled in a mainstream school.
Donald Gordon, who is chairman of the West Regional Scout Council stresses that Lapwing Lodge is not just for Cubs and Scouts, but is available for all community organisations, youth groups and even companies to hire.
Donald said: “Kibble have been using our outdoor facilities at Lapwing Lodge for a number of years and they asked us about setting up a primary school in part of the building.
“We agreed, as it fits in nicely with one of the principles of The Scout Association, which is to develop young people using outdoor activities.
“And there are plenty of outdoor activities available for the pupils here at Lapwing Lodge.
“We would like to encourage other organisations to use the facilities we have here at Lapwing Lodge. There are a wide range of groups and organisations already using Lapwing Lodge. But as we have such a great range of outdoor activities to offer along with a hostel for overnight stays, we hope to get even more people benefiting from Lapwing Lodge.”
Local authorities will refer pupils to be taught at Kibble’s new Lapwing Primary. Teachers there will be fully qualified with the added experience of having taught youngsters who are unable to cope with a mainstream school setting.
Kibble’s chief executive, Graham Bell said: “It’s the first time in Kibble’s history we have taught children of primary school age.
“We’d like to thank The Scout Association for helping us create a school in such a wonderful outdoor setting. It gives our pupils a fantastic opportunity to experience a whole host of outdoor activities, which can be integrated into their school curriculum.
“Our aim is to develop an educational facility in a therapeutic outdoor environment for younger children.”
Pictured: Left to right, Dr Joan Mackenzie, Kibble executive director; Graham Bell, Kibble chief executive; Donald Gordon, chairman of West Regional Scout Council; Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall and teacher at Lapwing Primary, Tracie McEwan.