Leaking roof and rotting window frames: Highland youngsters’ video reveals shocking state of school

Highland pupils from three schools have teamed up to highlight the poor state of their learning environments.

Filmmaker Rhys Campbell teamed up with High Life Highland’s Rob Parkes and pupils from Tain Royal Academy (TRA), Knockbreck Primary and Craighill Primary to shoot a video showing some of the problems with their school facilities.

The schoolkids argue that a failure to progress with a proposed new 3 to 18 campus in Tain is having a detrimental effect on teaching and learning.

A lack of IT provision, over-crowded and rundown indoor space, dated and costly sports facilities, leaking roofs, cold and draughty buildings and poor insulation are just some of the complaints raised.

A 2014 Education Scotland report recognised the proposal for a new campus for the schools in Tain would offer “considerable educational benefits”.

That project was halted in 2017 amid public concerns about the suitability of the TRA site.

After consultation over four potential sites in the town, the two contenders for the campus are now the existing Tain Royal Academy (TRA) and the Craighill Primary sites but further consultation is needed and the pupils have grown tired of waiting.

Highland councillor John Finlayson, chairman of Highland Council’s care, learning and housing Committee said: “We are spending as much as we possibly can on our schools.

“The capital programme approved in March 2018, commits £213m to school investment over 5 years.

“Highland does however have a significant number of schools, 204, and a range of matters to be addressed in relation to condition, suitability and capacity improvements across the estate.

“For that reason we are looking to work with Scottish Government to consider what further investment can be available to support investment in the Highland school estate.”

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “A new Tain 3-18 Campus was identified by the council in March 2018 as one of 11 priorities identified for bidding to Scottish Government for school building improvement funding.

“Since that time the council has commenced a statutory consultation for the establishment of a new campus, considering site options, and engaging with the local community through that process.

“The council is discussing its priorities with Scottish Government, and is looking forward to further details on the further £1bn of school improvement funding announced in November.

“Timescales for concluding the statutory consultation process, and next steps, will be clarified in parallel with further information in relation to government funding.”