A PETITION by parents concerned by budget proposals for a Wee County nursery will be heard by councillors next week.

A representative from Banchory Parent Council (BPC) has been invited to the Kilncraigs chamber for a special meeting on Tuesday, March 7.

The petition was launched to battle a savings proposal put forward by Clackmannanshire Council officers for the upcoming budget.

As previously reported, the proposal would see Banchory ELC class not accept any new admissions for 2023-24 with places offered in surrounding nurseries.

According to council papers, 461 signatures have been verified for the petition to keep enrolment at the nursery, parents having raised concerns over both the long and short term impacts of the proposals.

The local authority is seeking to save £483,333 with the move and while the council's budget engagement booklet did not suggest future changes, parents have voiced fears that this could be a route for permanent closure.

The petition read: "The initial one-off saving of £483,333 will simply be lost to increasing costs in other areas of education and social care provision.

"Currently, 67 per cent of out catchment children attend from SIMD Deciles 1 and 2, extreme markers for poverty, disadvantage and those targeted by attainment gap policy.

"Furthermore, approximately 50 per cent of our Banchory community are currently under staged intervention.

"Despite these challenges, the contextual analysis of our school and early years performance shows consistent growth and transformational change on all fronts under the current resource and staffing model."

In the most recent Care Inspectorate report, the ELC received grades of "very good" with inspectors emphasising the effectiveness of transition activities which resulted in children being "settled and secure".

The petition went on to say that Banchory's catchment has been designated as an area of educational priority with additional resources to ensure a good staff/pupil ratio.

It added: "Enrolment removal and future potential closure only seeks to undermine this and we seek to maintain current operations."

The principal petitioner, Kathryn Beaton, has been invited to speak on the day.

Councillors will either decide the issue does not merit further action or that "the information contained within the petition requires consideration by council within the context of deliberations associated with the upcoming General Revenue Fund budget for 2023-24".