Claims that children’s education is suffering due to delays in the construction of a new Madras College in St Andrews have been rejected by three campaigning former teachers.
Former Madras rector Lindsay Matheson and former colleagues Mary Jack and Sandra Thomson who are directors of the St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Limited (Stepal) said the claims are “not borne out by the facts” because “attainment results continue to rise year on year”.
The Stepal directors who are embroiled in a legal challenge against Fife Council’s granting of planning permission for a new school at Pipeland were responding to a presentation made by Parent Voice representative Dr Luke Rendell to a full meeting of Fife Council on Thursday.
They have expressed hope that Fife Council will now hear an address from Stepal in the interests of “openness and fairness” and to hear a “more accurate account of the issues”.
Noting that Dr Rendell a St Andrews University scientist had last year admitted creating a fake online identity to unearth financial information about Stepal, the directors said in a statement: “We are surprised that Fife Council was prepared to hear such a one-sided account of the Madras College situation from Dr Luke Rendell.
“Dr Rendell has been publicly discredited after he acknowledged sharing a website and Facebook page with the owners of the Pipeland site and admitted an attempt to obtain Stepal financial information by deception.
“While we do not wish to get involved in responding to the many highly inaccurate points made in Dr Rendell’s prepared statement, his claim that education at Madras College is suffering due to the time taken to build a new school is not borne out by the facts attainment results of the school continue to rise year on year.
“It is also difficult to see how pupils’ experiences of links with St Andrews University, which were highlighted in the 2014 inspectors’ report of the school, could be maintained if the new school was built on the hugely unpopular Pipeland site, so far from the university facilities.”
The directors reiterated that the motivation for their action is to “avoid building a sub-standard school on a totally unsuitable site which Fife Council admits will damage the environment”.
By going for a judicial review, they were following the advice given by Fife Council to all objectors.
“This is certainly not abuse of the legal process and could secure a better future for Madras College,” they added.