A deal could be struck to prevent an hour long round trip to school for Invergowrie children.
Perth and Kinross Council (PKC) has tabled plans which, if approved, will see the local authority pay in the region of £4 million to Dundee City Council (DCC) to expand Harris Academy.
In return, the at-capacity Dundee school would continue to educate children moving up from Invergowrie Primary School who otherwise could have had to travel to Perth High School from August 2023.
The potential solution – described as “sensible” – comes almost a year after proposals to end entitlement for Invergowrie children to attend Harris were recommended for approval.
This was despite overwhelming opposition shown by both the Dundee and Perth and Kinross community during a public consultation on the proposals.
Harris Academy is within walking distance from Invergowrie and just over five minutes by car but the journey to Perth High School takes around 26 minutes by road.
What has the reaction been?
Perth councillor Angus Forbes, who represents the Carse of Gowrie ward, said: “This is a sensible pragmatic approach to the problem and I welcome the commitment on both sides to find a way to make it happen.
“There are many children from Dundee who receive primary education in Invergowrie and I would not like that to change. Invergowrie children have contributed a lot to Harris over the years and will continue to do so.”
“This deal, if it’s approved by council next week, will prevent a very long bus journey to Perth, help with after school clubs and allow friendships formed in primary to continue.”
Councillor Alasdair Bailey, who also represents the Carse of Gowrie ward, hailed the plans as being a “sensible resolution”.
He said: “It’s fantastic that this sensible resolution is now on the table showing how Perth and Kinross Council can work with Dundee to ensure that kids from Invergowrie can continue to go to the Harris.
“It was ridiculous to propose that kids would have to spend two hours on a bus each day when there is a secondary school within easy walking distance of the village.
“People expect councils to work together for the best outcomes for them and their kids and I’m happy that we have found a way to do that here. Common sense has prevailed!”
What are the new proposals?
A capital budget update report, which will be heard by Perth and Kinross councillors next Wednesday, outlines a proposal for the council to pay around £4.2 million for an extension to Harris Academy.
This, the report says, would increase capacity and allow Invergowrie pupils to continue to attend Harris Academy.
The report also noted that Dundee City Council has confirmed it will meet additional revenue costs of the extra classrooms such as teachers, property costs, supplies and services.
DCC has previously said that Harris Academy is at capacity and unable to accommodate pupils from Invergowrie Primary School from August 2023.
It will make a final decision on its statutory consultation in late October.
Under the original proposals, first mooted early last year, Invergowrie pupils would not be automatically eligible for a place at Harris Academy and would have to travel to a Perth secondary school instead.
Commenting on the PKC proposals, a Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “A report will be considered by the children and families service committee in due course.”