THE man behind plans to open an independent school in Langholm says the refurbished building will be ready at the end of March.
Raymond Logan, managing director of Greenleaf House, has agreed to buy the former primary school in Thomas Telford Road and run a day school for troubled young people aged eight to 18.
He is promising 30 jobs and intends to move his company’s headquarters into the building. His head of education is Graham Cooper, a former pupil of Langholm.
Greenleaf House already runs two residential care homes, one of which has a school attached to it. The company has been in business for just over a year.
Mr Logan said they were well down the road with the project. He had had very positive discussions with the planners.
He did not propose to change the layout of the building but it needed refurbishment work and, because it was listed, needed listed building consent from Historic Environment Scotland but he was well on the way to getting that.
The dining hall would be used and a car park created in the playground.
The refurbishment would cost between £200,000 and £400,000 depending on the guidance they got.
Mr Logan said: “We’re well financed and backed and we have a number of options to look at. There are things which will dictate how we do it, mostly what the refurbishment costs will come out at.”
He added: “We chose this building because we thought it was a real opportunity for us to relocate our head office and administration as well.
“The fantastic stuff going on in Langholm was a major attraction.”
He said they were looking at houses in southern Scotland which they could buy and turn into residential care homes.
The number of pupils at the school will be dictated by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIe).
The school will operate under exactly the same HMIe regime as the other schools in the town. The children would be transported in from the home in Kilmarnock.
Mr Cooper said he went to school in Langholm and he wanted these children to have the same kind of experience he had growing up in this community.
He said: “They’re young people in residential care from all over the UK and they have experienced trauma in their lives.
“They’re not bad kids but kids who have had bad things happen to them. You can never really overcome the trauma but give them as good a childhood as they deserve from an educational point of view and give them good experiences.
“They have not had good experiences in mainstream schools and some are excluded pupils. They are all in residential care with us.
“We have the scope to do things differently, including the staff pupil ratio. We won’t be teaching a class of 30 kids.
“We’re very committed to the idea that they have exactly the same right to the full curriculum and learning experiences as any