Calls for a new school to be built in the north of Skye were heightened yesterday after shocking footage emerged of water pouring into a basement beneath a classroom in Dunvegan.
Dunvegan Parent Council has written to local elected members, the leader of the Highland Council Margaret Davidson and deputy first minister John Swinney, describing the latest situation as “crisis point.”
Elgar Finlay, chairman of Dunvegan Primary Parent Council, said: “This has been ongoing for years.
“We have up until recently been on the capital budget for a new school and then were told we have been removed from it.
“Water is pouring in the bricks and mortar below a classroom and it is now at the stage where the excuse of there being no money is just not good enough anymore.
“We can afford £6 million for tourism infrastructure and for the subsidising of airports but we can’t deal with two schools on the island in such a state. The excuse is not good enough. The community are absolutely furious and many have said these issues have rumbled on for nearly 30 years now.”
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The Highland Council yesterday sent its local maintenance team to inspect the basement below the classroom as heavy rainfall led to water pouring into the disused plant room.
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “Surrounding land drainage will be checked and repaired if found necessary. Arrangements will be made to permanently fill in the disused basement area. Pupils have not been affected and a dehumidifier has been placed in the classroom as a precaution.
“Dunvegan was listed as one of the Council’s priorities for bidding to Scottish Government for funding.
“The Council has progressed discussions with the community, and developed and discussed outline plans with them so the Council can be in a position to make a positive funding bid when the opportunity arises.
“In the interim, pupil safety is a priority and any essential health and safety works will of course be addressed.”
Calls to local leaders have now been made by concerned parents over the speeding up of a new school being delivered to Dunvegan.
Kate Forbes MSP said: “This is an exceedingly concerning situation that must be resolved as a matter of urgency. It is the latest evidence that parents and pupils deserve a brand new school.
“The council had plans for a new school right next to the existing building, on land the council already owns, and this needs to become a reality as quickly as possible.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “While the condition and maintenance of school buildings in the responsibility of local authorities, the safety and wellbeing of students and staff is our primary concern.
“We would encourage Highland Council to urgently respond to and address the concerns of the parent council and make any required repairs to Dunvegan Primary immediately.”
Local councillor John Finlayson said: “The issue at Dunvegan Primary School today was naturally of concern to all and while the council’s maintenance team were quick to respond once they were made aware of the flooding, the incident again highlighted the need for action to improve school buildings and support the learning and health of school children in Dunvegan and on Skye generally.
“I am aware that the Leader of the Council responded to the Chair of the Parent Council today, and that officers of the council are reviewing what needs to be done next.”