Broad­ford school cash ap­proved

The Oban Times - - News - EL­LIE FORBES eforbes@oban­

FUND­ING for a new build­ing at Broad­ford Pri­mary School has been ap­proved.

The High­land Coun­cil's new peo­ple’s com­mit­tee, which in­cludes ed­u­ca­tion as part of its re­mit, rub­ber-stamped £ 350,000 fund­ing for new mo­du­lar class­rooms to re­place old, leak­ing cabin class­rooms.

The mo­du­lar class­rooms are now in place and it is hoped pupils and teach­ers will be able to use them be­fore the sum­mer break. How­ever, con­cerns re­main over the over­all poor con­di­tion of the main build­ing which has damp prob­lems stem­ming from its flat roof, the poor fab­ric of the build­ing, peel­ing dé­cor and in­ad­e­quate toi­let fa­cil­i­ties.

It has yet to ap­pear on the lo­cal author­ity’s cap­i­tal fund­ing project list, which has still to be fi­nalised and dis­cussed with the newly- elected mem­bers, de­spite a re­cent visit from High­land Coun­cil leader Mar­garet David­son.

Coun­cil­lor John Fin­layson, who pressed the case for Broad­ford at the re­cent com­mit­tee meet­ing, added: ‘I feel very strongly Broad­ford Pri­mary School needs to ap­pear on the coun­cil’s cap­i­tal build pro­gramme very soon.

‘Chil­dren, par­ents and the com­mu­nity of Broad­ford de­serve to have some in­di­ca­tion of when they can ex­pect a new school.’

Ding­wall coun­cil­lor Gra­ham MacKen­zie said dur­ing the meet­ing: ‘I know it’s not de­lib­er­ate, but I get a bit twitchy about this con­cen­tra­tion on In­ver­ness schools.

‘I think we need to re­mem­ber there are prob­lems with schools right across the High­lands. I am all for look­ing at im­prove­ments but it has to be across the whole area.’

Coun­cil­lor Fin­layson backed Mr MacKen­zie say­ing: ‘I ask peo­ple not to for­get the isle of Skye. The coun­cil was in Skye re­cently and there are is­sues with school build­ings there. Hope­fully there will pos­si­bly be a new build, so don’t for­get about us.’

Mr Fin­layson said ren­o­va­tion of the di­lap­i­dated school needs to be fast-tracked.

‘Dur­ing the last ad­min­is­tra­tion, a busi­ness plan was started about build­ing a new school. This needs fast-tracked to en­sure the young peo­ple of Broad- ford are ed­u­cated in a school that is both wind and wa­ter­tight and also fit for pur­pose to meet the de­mands of 21st cen­tury ed­u­ca­tion,’ he said.

‘Along with all the other coun­cil­lors on Skye, we will be work­ing hard to en­sure a new school is built in Broad­ford. It is en­cour­ag­ing to get sup­port from our lo­cal MSP.

‘Hope­fully we can all work to­gether to sup­port the chil­dren, par­ents and wider com­mu­nity of Broad­ford.’

Skye MSP Kate Forbes said she was pleased to hear the new mo­du­lar class­rooms for Gaelic medium pupils will soon be op­er­a­tional for staff and pupils but said the coun­cil can­not lose sight of the big­ger pic­ture.

‘ Whilst this short-term mea­sure is wel­come, I urge High­land Coun­cil not to lose sight of the big­ger pic­ture. Broad­ford Pri­mary School re­quires multi-mil­lion-pound in­vest­ment to bring the build­ing up to the same stan­dard as other High­land schools.

‘A re­view of the lo­cal author­ity’s cap­i­tal pro­gramme is un­der way and the out­come of this will de­ter­mine the level of fund­ing and the timescale for fu­ture re­fur­bish­ment.’

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