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Eden Court Theatre in Inverness could be part of back to school efforts

By Val Sweeney

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Eden Court could form part of back to school plans for Inverness.
Eden Court could form part of back to school plans for Inverness.

Eden Court in Inverness could be used as part of an innovative plan to get Highland pupils back to school as coronavirus restrictions ease.

Theatre bosses and council officers are exploring whether the building and its staff could be used to help with teaching and learning.

The revelation comes as James Mackenzie-Blackman, the venue’s chief executive, rubbished a tweet by former First Minister Lord Jack McConnell highlighting how an English state primary school has erected tents to give pupils a school experience before the summer holidays – but maintaining no Scottish councils were planning anything as imaginative for after the holidays.

Disputing the claim, Mr Mackenzie-Blackman responded he was in online talks with “passionate, dedicated civil servants and school leaders exploring how to imbed the skills of my staff and my award-winning building in teaching and learning”.

He said: “Eden Court has been working closely with Highland Council throughout the pandemic to utilise the skills of our staff and our building resources.

“We are working closely with various colleagues in the education team at the council to explore various ways in which our building, and our staff, can contribute to their Schools Reopening Project.

“We remain committed to working collaboratively with the council as they continue to work tirelessly to ensure as many young people as possible can safely have access to teaching and learning.”

The Scottish Government wants pupils back at least 50 per cent of the time from August 11 although the council warned last week a lack of funding to acquire additional building space and employ more staff is making this difficult.

Related article: Highland Council will need more cash to reopen schools

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