Ministers call in Highlands school plan and pass another

Scottish GovernmentThe Highland Council is to proceed with its proposal to establish a £45 million school campus in Tain after the Scottish Government decided not to call in the development.

Separate proposals to close four schools on Skye and replace them with a new building on one of the sites is still to be decided by ministers.

The new Tain campus, which will educate three to 18-year-olds, is to be located on the existing Tain Royal Academy Site and will replace the existing Tain Royal Academy and Community Complex, Craighill Primary School, Knockbreck Primary School and Gaelic Nursery, St Duthus Special School and Tain Nursery.

Funding has already been allocated within the council’s capital programme, and the council will progress the project in liaison with Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust as part of the “Scotland’s Schools for the Future” programme. An ambitious target has been set for the new Campus being operational in Autumn 2018.

Councillor Alasdair Christie, chair of the education, children and adult services committee, said: “I welcome the Scottish Government’s announcement and look forward to this exciting new development being progressed to deliver a modern new campus for Tain and the surrounding community. We will now move forward with further local discussion on the design and specification of the new campus, to provide a facility to meet the needs of current and future generations.”

Meanwhile the council’s proposal to establish a new community school in Dunvegan, replacing the existing provision at Dunvegan, Edinbane, Knockbreck and Struan Primary Schools has been called in by the Scottish Government.

Ministers may issue a call in notice if it appears to them that the education authority may have failed to comply with the requirements of the Schools Consultation (Scotland) Act 2010, or may not have taken proper account of a material consideration relevant to its decision to implement the proposal.

The proposal will now be referred to the School Closure Review Panel, who will reach a decision in relation to the Council’s proposal. Highland Council will not progress implementation of the proposal meantime.

Councillor Alasdair Christie added: “We note that the council’s proposal to establish a modern new community school for North West Skye has been called in. This is due process to ensure that there has been full and proper consultation in relation to the Act, and we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that this has been the case. The council will co-operate fully with the School Closure Review Panel to allow a final decision to be reached. The council remains firmly of the view that there are strong educational and community benefits from the proposed new community school.”

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