Campaigners fighting for a new Madras College in St Andrews fear the proposed opening date for the new school is fast becoming “unachievable”.
As another group of children begin their education at the existing Madras buildings, Parent Voice say the start of term is a stark reminder of the urgent need for a new secondary school to serve the area.
Despite overwhelming support from the community for the proposed Langlands site, parents say they are seriously concerned about a “deafening silence” about any progress and have cast doubt on how Fife Council will deliver the new school for the 2020/21 intake, as suggested.
Parent Voice, which has long campaigned for a new Madras and has more than 1,000 supporters, has urged the council to lay out a clear timetable for delivering the new school and provide parents with assurance that the plans they have approved are “on track” for delivery.
A spokesperson for the group said: “Anyone familiar knows the decades of disappointment and debate that have taken us to this point.
“Now that we have unity around building the new Madras at Langlands, let us all
act together in order to turn promises into reality. There is no more time for delay.”
Local councillor Brian Thomson said he shares concerns over the slow progress in delivering a new school.
“It’s particularly frustrating when such a huge level of support for a new school has been expressed – with a tiny number of objections – and we’ve seen other school projects, such as the recently-developed new Waid Academy, move swiftly through the planning process in a matter of a few months.
“The access road needs to be built to a standard that it can cope with construction traffic before any works on the new school can commence. In short, without the access road, construction of the school can’t commence.
“Given that it will take around 30 weeks to construct the road to an acceptable standard, plus around two years to build the school, it’s already clear that completing the school in the 2020/21 academic year is almost unachievable.
“I was advised earlier this year that works to construct the road could not commence until after the end of the bird nesting season, which would be September, and I understand that the university is in a position to commence the works as planned.
“However, in a reply to my most recent request, council officers have not been able to provide me with a start date.
“Hopefully works can commence soon, which – based on my own estimate – would be essential if a summer 2021 completion date is to be achieved.”
Alan Paul, senior manager at Fife Council, maintained: “We are still fully committed to delivering a new Madras College, in St Andrews and our position on that has not changed.
“Work is continuing and we are still working towards achieving completion during the 2020/21 academic year.”