More pupils of a west Fife secondary school will have to take the bus if it is rebuilt in a neighbouring town as proposed.
Inverkeithing High School is likely to be shifted to Rosyth if councillors agree next week to replace it on a site in the west of its catchment area.
Hundreds of youngsters from Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay who can currently walk to school will be entitled to take the bus if the school moves to Fleet Grounds in Hilton Road.
Councillors will be asked on Tuesday to approve the location for the new community-use school for up to 2,000 pupils, subject to planning permission, public consultation and land acquisition from the Ministry of Defence and other owners.
Six sites were investigated in Inverkeithing and Rosyth but the other final option, land north of the A921 near the existing school, was deemed to be at high risk of flooding.
Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay SNP councillor David Barratt said all Inverkeithing and most Dalgety Bay and Rosyth pupils are within walking distance of Inverkeithing High School, in Hillend Road.
But he said: “Put it at the far western margin and you are changing that completely. All in Rosyth will be in walking distance but none in Dalgety Bay and only a very small number in Inverkeithing.”
He also voiced concern for the future viability of community facilities at the school, known as the Wing, and predicted an economic loss to Inverkeithing.
He said: “That is of great concern, given the efforts and money spent in recent years on regenerating Inverkeithing.”
Public consultation will be held on the proposed new school and Mr Barratt said the fight was “not over yet, although it’s not looking hopeful for Inverkeithing”.
Loss for traders
Inverkeithing Community Council chairwoman Helen Doig said moving the school out of the town would be detrimental to children, local traders and the community.
She said: “It’s a long way to go for some of the children, particularly those in Dalgety Bay and Aberdour. Inverkeithing is central for everyone.”
Local shops, both near the school and in the town centre, are used by pupils at lunchtime, she said, adding: “It’s going to be a great loss for them.”
A report to be presented to Fife Council’s education and children’s services committee acknowledges neither of the final two sites meet criteria that the school be located where the pupil population is greatest.
Area divided by M90
It says the pupil population will remain split by the M90 which runs between Inverkeithing and Rosyth, with half on either side.
In the report executive director Carrie Lindsay says: “In terms of educational facilities, the overall impact on the school communities should be a positive one, with a new school being proposed on a site which will have enhanced facilities for the young people in the catchment area.”
She also states: “Any proposal to relocate the existing Inverkeithing HS and build a new school on a different site location to the existing site will impact on some pupils who are having to travel further to attend this new school.
“However, there will be some pupils who will live nearer to the school.”
Any proposal to relocate the existing Inverkeithing HS and build a new school on a different site location to the existing site will impact on some pupils who are having to travel further to attend this new school.”
Carrie Lindsay, Fife Council executive director
An initial increase in the number of young people entitled to transport would, it is anticipated, use the same number of buses as present.
Fife Council has set aside funding for the new school as part of an £117 million investment in Dunfermline and south-west Fife schools but discussions are taking place with the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust around additional investment.
If the replacement goes ahead the existing school building will be declared surplus and options for its reuse or disposal considered. The Wing, said to be in poor condition and in need of significant investment if retained, will be considered in a Fife-wide review of community facilities.