Invergowrie Primary School pupils will continue to be eligible to attend Harris Academy after councillors voted to accept a multi-million pound proposal to expand the Dundee secondary.
Dundee City Council’s children and family services committee tonight approved proposals which will see Perth and Kinross Council (PKC) pay £4.2 million towards an expansion of Harris.
Six additional classrooms are expected to be built, along with circulation and social space, which will provide space for approximately 1,507 pupils – increasing the capacity of the Dundee secondary by up to 198 pupils.
The expansion means Invergowrie Primary will continue to be an associated primary of Harris Academy.
Under proposals initially recommended for approval last year, Invergowrie Primary was set to be removed as an associate of Harris – meaning from August 2022 pupils would have had to travel to Perth High School instead.
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.
PKC had estimated the bus journey for Invergowrie pupils would be a 55-minute journey each way.
Left: Journey from Harris Academy to Invergowrie (7 mins)
Right: Journey from Invergowrie to Perth High (25 mins)
Controversial plans not welcomed by community
The controversial proposals to remove Invergowrie Primary School as an associated primary to Harris Academy were first unveiled last early last year.
The boundary changes were proposed based upon the projected future pupil intake for Harris Academy and S1 roll being “unsustainable”.
A Dundee City Council report outlined that by the 2026/27 school year, the projected pupil roll at Harris would be between 1,411 and 1,471.
This would mean the school, in its current form, would be operating between 108% and 112% capacity respectively.
A public consultation, however, revealed overwhelming opposition to the plans from both the Dundee and Perth and Kinross communities.
A total of 55 written representations were received – nine from parents, carers, young people and residents from Dundee and 42 from the Perth and Kinross community.
Of the 55 submissions, just one was in favour of the proposal. A further 52 were against the plans and two were neutral.
“Grateful to the parents who helped to make this happen”
Councillor Angus Forbes, who represents the Carse of Gowrie ward and who has been a vocal opponent to the original proposals, welcomed the work taken by both councils to find a compromise.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s committee meeting, he said: “Over the past two years we have worked very hard to find a solution to this problem and I am really pleased that this would appear to be it.”
A solution at last pic.twitter.com/W2nDBJRBzF
— Angus Forbes (@cllrangusforbes) October 25, 2021
“During that period, I have worked with the parents to keep this matter in the eyes of the decision makers by running public meetings, talking to Dundee Council committee, meeting Councillor Stewart Hunter and doing a mass leaflet drop across the area.
“I am very grateful to the parents who helped to make this happen. This is their victory and it shows that when a community really get behind an issue there is always a solution.”
“This is a position we should not be in”
Councillor Michael Marra also welcomed the resolution that will continue to allow Invergowrie pupils at Harris but criticised what he called the “entirely predictable” consequences of the closure of Menzieshill High School in 2016.
He said: “We (Labour) have supported the inclusion of Invergowrie kids for 30 years and continue to do so.
“I’m glad that the situation has some form of resolution but this is a position that we should not be in.”