Community campus could replace Monifieth High School

© DC Thomson
Monifieth High School is ageing and approaching capacity.

A multi-million-pound community campus has emerged as one of the options to come forward under ambitious proposals for the future of education in the Monifieth area.

In the latest stage of a radical district-wide Schools for the Future plan announced by the local authority earlier this year, Monifieth High and its cluster primaries are set to become the subject of community consultation after officials revealed that the status quo is not a viable option.

On Thursday, a special council meeting will consider a report highlighting rolls at Monifieth High and Mattocks Primary set to go beyond 100% capacity within the next five years and a low C-category suitability rating for the secondary which already has a near £1 million planned maintenance programme outstanding.

Grange Primary is not far behind with outstanding planned maintenance of £828,000, councillors will hear.

Strategic director (people), Mark Armstrong, has said the combination of capacity, maintenance and catchment factors mean that doing nothing is not considered viable, but the authority has admitted that Holyrood help will be needed to fund any new schools and, at this stage, no cash promises have been made.

The options which the authority intends to consult on are:

  • Reviewing the Monifieth High catchment area. May result in a more even distribution of pupils across Monifieth High, Forfar Academy, Carnoustie High and Webster’s High in Kirriemuir.
  • Extend Monifieth High and Mattocks Primary and refurbish Grange and Liff primaries.
  • Replace Monifieth High and Grange Primary with an “all-through” school.
  • Create an all-through community campus with additional facilities beyond the replacement of Monifieth High and Grange Primary.
  • Refurbish and increase capacity at Mattocks and Liff primaries and develop an all-through school to accommodate Monifieth High and Grange Primary.
  • Develop Monifieth High to include community facilities, but with no primary element.

Alongside the “do nothing” option being ruled out, officials have also suggested that the creation of a new school in Birkhill to incorporate the primaries of Auchterhouse, Liff, Strathmartine and the village primary is not worth consulting on.

Some 300 youngsters currently travel from the Birkhill area to Monifieth High.

The director’s report continues: “A secondary school of 300 pupils would not be large enough to deliver a full curriculum through broad general education to the senior phase.

“In order to have a secondary school that could deliver a full curriculum it would need to be shared with both Dundee City Council and Perth and Kinross Council. We have been in contact with neighbouring authorities, and this option is not considered viable at this point as this is not a shared priority for all three councils.”

Mr Armstrong adds: “It is difficult to quantify the financial implications at this stage.

“A project of the scale of replacing Monifieth High or an all-through campus will require funding support from the Scottish Government’s Schools for the Future programme.

“At the time of writing, there is no indication that such funding will be available.”

Since 2016, Angus Council has created new community campuses in Brechin and Forfar at a combined cost of more than £60 million.