Scottish Government funding has been secured for five new schools to be built across Tayside and Fife.
Education Secretary John Swinney revealed today money has been granted to replace Monifieth High School, Inverkeithing High School and Perth High School, merge Braveview Academy and Craigie High School, in Dundee, and build a new primary school in Perth.
The cash will come from the £1 billion Learning Estate Investment Programme which aims to benefit around 50,000 pupils across Scotland by the end of the next parliament by building digitally enabled, low-carbon schools and campuses.
Up to 50% of the cost of the proposed merger between Braeview Academy and Craigie High School will be contributed if the £60 million project is agreed.
Formal consultation has already been carried out on the proposal which will be considered by Dundee City Council’s children and families service committee in the new year.
City council children and families service convener Stewart Hunter said: “With a report due to be considered by committee soon, confirmation that a major part of the financial jigsaw would be available should this be approved is great news.
“We have carried out thorough consultation on the proposal to close both current buildings and replace them with a new secondary school and community learning campus.
“I believe that this ambitious plan would help us transform secondary education in areas of the city facing significant challenges with poverty.
“Pupils would benefit through advantages of scale at a community campus that the current schools cannot offer.”
Angus Council has successfully secured funding for the proposed £50 million building to replace the current Monifieth High School.
The current building was described as having the “biggest problems” in the region by one councillor, inefficient heating systems, limited accessibility and poor ventilation among the issues.
A refurbishment and expansion of the current building is still under consideration but could cost up to £5 million.
The local authority hopes the new school could completed by summer 2025.
Welcoming the news, convener of children and learning, Cllr Derek Wann said: “We are delighted that we have been given the go-ahead to progress with a new building for Monifieth High School as it already over capacity and the current building is in a poor state of repair.
“We look forward to consulting with the local community and will draw on our previous experience of delivering new build secondary schools in Brechin and Forfar to maximise the opportunity this provides.”
Perth and Kinross
A new Perth High School building and a replacement for North Muirton and Balhousie primary schools were also included in the today’s funding announcement.
Perth and Kinross Council will receive 50% of the total capital cost of building over 25 years.
Council money for the projects was approved on September 30.
The new Perth High School will cost approximately £58.5 million and the new, as yet unnamed primary, will be around £16.5 million.
Both schools will give pupils and teachers a greatly improved learning and teaching environment as well as being more environmentally-friendly.
The new Perth High School is expected to open in 2024 while the new primary is scheduled for 2023.
Councillor Murray Lyle said: “At Perth and Kinross Council we are determined to give our children and young people the best start in life and these projects are the latest in our long-term plan to transform our learning estate.
“As well as providing new, modern learning and teaching environments, both the new Perth High School and the replacement for North Muirton and Balhousie primary schools will be built to Passivhaus construction standards helping us meet our target of zero carbon emissions by 2045.”
Councillor Caroline Shiers added: “The two new developments will replace schools that are nearing the end of their working life with modern, state-of-the-art settings and will benefit more than 2000 pupils from all age groups.”
It is estimated a new build Inverkeithing High School, which would accommodate around 2,000 pupils, will cost approximately £85 million.
A number of sites were rejected, including its current location (site three) and the other one on the final shortlist, land north of the A921 in Inverkeithing (sites four and 22).
Carrie Lindsay, Executive Director of Education and Children’s Services said: “There’s a commitment in the Council’s approved Capital Plan for secondary schools in West Fife, a programme which includes the replacement of Inverkeithing High School.
“This funding from the Scottish Government will enhance our ability to deliver the whole programme for our Dunfermline, South and West Fife secondary schools.”
What is the Scottish Government saying?
Announcing the funding news, John Swinney said: “I am determined that our pupils have access to high-quality, up-to-date facilities that parents, staff and children can be proud of.
“This next phase builds on our commitment and proven track record in replacing schools in the poorest condition so that more children or young people can be educated in high quality buildings and ensure equity of provision.
“Scotland’s construction industry has worked incredibly hard to deal with the many challenges presented by the COVID pandemic. This funding will help the sector, sustaining many jobs and providing a welcome boost to communities across the country.
“Many of the projects will include wider community facilities and integration as part of the new school build or refurbishment. These facilities are so much more than just a school where children are educated, they are the centre piece of communities with links to the wider learning estate such as further education facilities and community libraries.”