Skye school plan called in by Scottish ministers

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Highland Council’s plans to amalgamate four Skye schools have been called in by the Scottish Government.

Earlier this year, members of the local authority approved plans for a new community school in Dunvegan – despite opposition from parents.

However that decision is on hold after Scottish ministers called it in.

The proposal will now be reviewed by the independent School Closure Review Panel.

The proposal means that existing primaries at Dunvegan, Edinbane, Knockbreck and Struan would be closed.

Parents in Skye had raised concerns about the long distances pupils would be required to travel for their education.

Councillor Alasdair Christie, chairman of the education, children and adult services committee said: “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.”

Meanwhile ministers have also approved the council’s plans to establish a new 3-18 campus for Tain.

The £45million school will be build on the site of the existing Tain Royal Academy and will replace the secondary school and community complex, primaries at Craighill and Knockbreck, St Duthus Special School and Tain Nursery.

The school is already included in the council’s capital programme and it is hoped it could open in autumn 2018.

Mr Christie 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.”