New Skye Gaelic school ap­proved

The Oban Times - - News -

A NEW Gaelic school on Skye was ap­proved by High­land coun­cil­lors this week, de­spite wide­spread dis­ap­proval on the is­land.

The pro­posal, agreed by the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s north plan­ning com­mit­tee on Tues­day, in­volves de­mol­ish­ing a 19th cen­tury for­mer poor­house and hos­tel in Portree and re­plac­ing it with a new school de­scribed by one coun­cil­lor as ‘poorly de­signed, drab and fac­tory-like’.

Ob­jec­tors said the cur­rent build­ing, for­merly the Mar­garet Carnegie hos­tel, should be in­cor­po­rated into the new school whereas oth­ers said it should be aban­doned and the money should go to cur­rent schools on the is­land in need of re­pair and up­grades.

Con­cerned Portree res­i­dent, Ca­tri­ona Les­lie, urged the plan­ning com­mit­tee to re­ject the pro­posal. She said: ‘Given High­land coun­cil’s se­vere short­age of funds, it would seem log­i­cal to can­cel the pro­posed Gaelic medium school in Portree and build new schools in Broad­ford and Dun­ve­gan where they are so badly needed. Portree pri­mary school has a very suc­cess­ful and greatly ap­pre­ci­ated Gaelic medium unit and the build­ing is rel­a­tively mod­ern. So where is the logic in build­ing a sep­a­rate school in Portree and thus in­creas­ing run­ning and staffing costs at a time when money is so short?’

But Skye coun­cil­lor, Drew Mil­lar, pledged his sup­port to the ap­pli­ca­tion dur­ing Tues­day’s meet­ing: ‘I and the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple sup­port this. This is one of the big­gest steps for­ward for Gaelic ed­u­ca­tion in Skye for a long time.’

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