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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


New Sidlaw View primary school to open in October

August 6 2016

Builders are putting the finishing touches on the new £8 million Sidlaw View Primary School as construction enters the final stage. Large, airy classrooms, break-out spaces, a dining and assembly hall, a production kitchen and an IT room are among the features to be included in the new facility. There will also be a nursery and a young mother’s unit, which will serve the adjacent Baldragon Academy. Up to 400 pupils will be able to attend the school, which will open after the October holiday. Sidlaw View headteacher Denise McCafferty said: “It’s such a lovely, light building and there’s lots of space for the kids to do different activities. “They are all very excited, they’ve had a tour of the building at different stages in the construction” Children and Families Services Convener Stewart Hunter said that Dundee City Council was committed to closing the attainment gap. He explained: “Continuing investment into our school estate is crucial for the years ahead. “We are committed to closing the attainment gap and ensuring that even more of our young people are able to take advantage of new opportunities. “The provision of a high quality learning and teaching environment for young people is an important part of these efforts.” The project is being delivered by Robertson Tayside.


Plans for new 20mph zone outside Dundee school get put to the public

May 26 2015

Plans to introduce a new 20mph zone near a Dundee school are gathering pace. The city council is asking members of the public for their views on introducing a lower limit outside the new Sidlaw View Primary. Residents are being asked to attend a meeting at the school on June 2 from 6pm to discuss the plans. The 20mph limit is scheduled to be put in place before the opening of the new Sidlaw View Primary School, which is expected in August 2016.


No Scottish Government money for Dundee primary and nursery

October 2 2012

Funding for the rebuild of a Dundee primary and nursery will not come from the Scottish Government, it has emerged. Dundee City Council had put forward a bid to the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) for funding to replace Baldragon Academy, Sidlaw View Primary and Jessie Porter Nursery School with a new-build campus. However, while it was announced last week that the SFT will pour funding into a new Baldragon, it did not approve funding for the other schools. Local Strathmartine councillor Kevin Keenan branded the move ''disappointing''. He said: ''I have to say it is disappointing that the SNP Government didn't see the benefits of or have the foresight to approve the larger project which would have taken into account the needs of Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery. ''I hope that this is not a project which will disappear just because we have been let down by the Scottish Government. ''Council have now built an expectation amongst the parents, staff and pupils of these two schools and this Government has landed that burden directly back with the city council. ''The council has an ability to borrow funds at competitive rates. As a local councillor representing the area, I would not like to see any further backtracking the SNP administration in Dundee must commit to rebuilding these two schools.'' Dundee Labour group's education spokesman Laurie Bidwell said the council was under an obligation to work out how to fund the project. He added: ''This includes the 40% cost of rebuilding Baldragon unfunded by the Scottish Futures Trust and now 100% of the cost of Jessie Porter Nursery School and Sidlaw View Primary School.'' A council spokesman yesterday said a report would be before committee soon. He said: ''At the education committee in June it was agreed to submit a bid to the Scottish Futures Trust for a new Baldragon Academy and a new Sidlaw View Primary School, integrated with Jessie Porter Nursery School. ''It was also agreed that, following the outcome of the bid, a more detailed proposal be reported back to committee in due course. ''This is now under preparation and officers will bring back the detailed report once they have all the relevant financial and technical information.'' ksmyth@thecourier.co.uk


Vandals attack primary schools in Dundee

August 27 2013

Vandals have attacked two Dundee primary schools over the weekend. Police are investigating the attacks which left windows shattered at both the Sidlaw View Primary School and the Mill o’ Mains Primary School. It is believed both attacks took place at some point over the weekend. At Sidlaw View, a glass panel in the main entrance door was damaged, while at Mill o’ Mains Primary another window was smashed. Education Committee convener Stewart Hunter hit out at the vandalism. He said: “I condemn any act of vandalism on our schools and it is appalling that it has happened. “I would urge anyone with information about this incident to contact the police,” he added. Anyone with any information that may be useful should contact Police Scotland, Tayside Division, on 101, or any police officer. Alternatively information can be passed anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


Start in sight for new £8 million school in Dundee

June 17 2015

Plans for an £8.1 million new school in Dundee to replace Sidlaw View primary are set to go ahead. A tender submission for the project by Wilmott Dixon Construction Ltd, which would also see the replacement of the Jessie Porter nursery, goes before the city council’s development committee next week. The primary school and nursery will form part of a three-tier shared campus that will also accommodate a new Baldragon Academy. Councillors approved the £27 million redevelopment of the secondary school in September last year. The local authority will meet £10.6 million of the bill, with Scottish Futures paying the rest. A potential threat to the overall scheme was lifted earlier this year when the council reached an “amicable settlement” with Sidlaw View’s long-time janitor Jim Hayter and his family over an eviction wrangle. The council started legal action in a bid to have the family removed from their home so it could be claimed by the wrecking ball and help make way for the multi-million pound development. Councillor Ken Guild had called for a suspension of the courtroom dispute in February and pleaded for common sense to prevail. His wishes were realised and it is understood that the Hayters have since been re-homed. The new two-storey Sidlaw View building will house a two-stream primary school designed for 400 pupils and 70 full-time equivalent nursery places for three to five-year-olds. There will also be a separate nursery area for up to 30 full time equivalent two-year-olds. Vehicles will be able to access the site from Harestane Road, with car parking spaces for more than 30 cars and a drop-off point for nursery pupils. The building will be steel-framed, with external cavity wall construction and the external finish will be a mixture of facing brick/blockwork and aluminium powder coated panels. All of the classrooms will face south to maximise the amount of natural light reaching them. Education convener Stewart Hunter, said of the plans: “It is important that we continue to ensure that the buildings in which we educate our young people are of the highest possible standard. “I am sure that the replacement school will be welcomed by pupils, parents and staff who will be working there.” Commenting on the tendering process, development convener Will Dawson said: “The way we tendered for this building means that the specification and design was produced by the council’s in-house team and management fees, overheads and profit for the lead contractor were all agreed in advance. “The quotes were market tested with 59 individual work packages issued to 195 potential sub-contractors and suppliers, and then benchmarked against current market prices to confirm that it offers the best value for money.” The development committee meets next Monday.


Police probe altercation between pupil and parent outside Dundee primary school

June 20 2015

Police are investigating after an altercation between a pupil and a parent outside a Dundee primary school. Officers were called to Sidlaw View Primary in Kirkton after an “exchange of words” between the pair outside the school gates escalated into a physical confrontation. Eyewitnesses claimed the schoolchild appeared to aim kicks at the parent of another pupil and pull at her hair just as all the children streamed out of the school at the end of the day. One witness to the incident said: “There was a fight after school involving a parent and one of the kids. “There was kicking and hair pulling and it was literally just as the school came out. “A lot of people were about and some tried to break it up. “By the time the teachers came out the fight was over.” A Police Scotland spokesman confirmed: “Police received calls just after 3pm on Friday June 12, to attend Sidlaw View Primary School. “Reports are that there was an exchange of words between a pupil and an adult, who was the mother of another pupil, and this was followed by an altercation. “Complaints were received from both parties. “Officers are currently continuing with inquiries into the matter.” Education convener Stewart Hunter said he was confident the school would take appropriate action following the investigation by Police Scotland.


Sidlaw View Primary School janitor’s eviction on hold for now

February 13 2015

Council plans to evict a school janitor from his tied house have been put on hold following the intervention of politicians. An 11th-hour appeal by ward councillor and Labour group leader Kevin Keenan to administration leader Ken Guild has led to an eviction hearing at the sheriff court being adjourned for a week to allow for negotiations to continue. Jim Hayter, 61, who has lived at Sidlaw View schoolhouse with his family for 14 years, only found out in December he was to be evicted after his daughter heard a rumour in the classroom. Kevin Keenan had appealed to the council’s legal chief, Roger Mennie, to halt the legal action but, after receiving “little success”, he turned his appeals to Mr Guild. Mr Keenan says the council’s approach is “far too heavy-handed and no way for the council to treat anyone, particularly one of its employees.” He told the administration leader he was calling on him “to intervene politically and instruct officers of council to stop the eviction process and to leave no stone unturned as they look for a solution for Mr and Mrs Hayter”. Mr Guild responded by saying he had contacted Mr Mennie to discuss the court action. He told Mr Keenan: “He has advised me that it has had to be raised because of the significant financial and other implications for the Baldragon Academy project if the council do not have vacant possession of the schoolhouse. “He confirmed, however, that the council are continuing to liaise with Mr Hayter at the same time to try to reach a mutually satisfactory negotiated solution, in which case the eviction action will be unnecessary and can be cancelled. “I also understand that Mr Hayter and his wife have been offered several properties by the council already, that the housing associations have also been contacted and have said that they will assist if they can and that, in addition, the housing department are looking on a daily basis for suitable properties for the Hayter family.” Sheriff McMillan allowed the adjournment and the case will call again next Thursday.


Pupil charged after Sidlaw View Primary School incident

June 25 2015

A primary school pupil has been charged in connection with an alleged disturbance outside a Dundee school. Police were called to Sidlaw View Primary School this month, after receiving reports of an “altercation” involving a pupil and a parent. The alleged incident happened on June 12, as children were finishing their school day. After more than a week of investigations, police confirmed yesterday that they had charged a pupil. The spokeswoman said: “A child has been charged in connection with the matter, a report will be submitted to the youth justice assessor and inquiries are ongoing into the full circumstances.”


Dundee schools could face threat in city council’s effort to save £18 million

October 26 2012

Up to a quarter of Dundee's primary schools could be under threat as the city council tries to save £18 million over the next two years. They are operating under 50% of capacity and could be included in a batch of mergers or shared campus deals to be considered in the city chambers. Four are already subject to talks about sharing campuses Lochee, which is only 28% full; Rosebank (43%); Our Lady's (37%); and Sidlaw View (38%). The other four primaries operating well below capacity are Ardler (47%), St Fergus (37%), St Pius (47%) and St Vincent (44%). Dundee's population decline and the movement of young families across the city have left these eight primaries with fewer than half of their places filled. Conversely, some other primaries are very well filled, with St Peter & Paul at 90%, Barnhill at 96% and Craigowl at 106%. The council must cut its spending by £18m over the next two years, and education takes more than half of the authority's budget. SNP administration leader Ken Guild insisted council tax will not rise and there will be no compulsory redundancies. Earlier this year Ballumbie Primary was created through the merger of Whitfield and Newfields primaries, and on Monday the education committee will consider a far-reaching proposal to bring Sidlaw View, Jessie Porter Nursery and Baldragon Academy together on the Baldragon site. Mr Guild said: "Directors of departments are looking at where they can make savings, but nobody will be forced out of the door. "We are finding that the school mergers are proving quite successful and we certainly wouldn't rule those out in the future, although we would favour them coming together on shared sites as we have achieved in Dundee in many cases, most recently with the new west end school with St Joseph's, Victoria Park and Balgay Hill Nursery. "There are some schools that are operating way below capacity, and others above capacity, so it is something that would be considered." He said £18 million is a "sizeable chunk" of money that has to be saved to 2014. There have been bigger savings in the last couple of years £40 million in 2010-11 and £20.2 million in 2011-12 but the council was not being complacent. Another area for savings could be to offer long-serving members of education staff early retirement. "This would be up to them but in the past many teachers in this situation have taken up the opportunity." Councillors will be asked to approve a voluntary early retirement, phased retirement or wind-down scheme for teachers next week. Labour education spokesman Laurie Bidwell said: "I was very disappointed to hear that more cuts are on the way in our schools as the council seeks £18 million of cuts over the next two years, and Ken Guild is predicting potential school closures and mergers. "It seems that once again the SNP administration will not be protecting school spending from the brunt of their cuts. With perhaps up to £8 million or £10 million of these new cuts falling to education, it is hard to see how these can be made without making damaging changes that reduce the opportunities for our young people and undermine the progress we have made in improving pupil attainment. "At a time when we need our school staff to be focused on developing the Curriculum for Excellence and preparing pupils for the new examinations, there will be damaging distractions as school closures and mergers are rushed through. "Unfortunately, the cracks are already beginning to show in some of our schools." aargo@thecourier.co.uk