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Fury as funding only agreed for one school

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Fury as funding only agreed for one school

A NEW Dumfries High School has been given the green light by the Scottish Government - but two others will have to wait.

The second phase of the Learning Estate Investment Programme (LESI) has been revealed by education secretary John Swinney and includes a new building at Marchmount.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be more than £46 million. The council described the High School as being at the “end of life” and highlighted structural issues with the concrete frame.

And a report in October revealed the bill to repair all the issues at Dumfries High School would cost £9 million.

The project is one of 25 new schools to be built across Scotland as part of the government’s £800 million announcement.

Dumfries High School headteacher Phil Cubbon described it as “absolutely fantastic news” and said: “It has been a long time coming and to say that we are all thrilled is an understatement. This is another exciting chapter for Dumfries High School and I look forward to things progressing so that it enables us to welcome our young people into a brand new school building as soon as we can.”

Council leader Elaine Murray said: “Phase two of the Dumfries Learning Town Programme remains a priority for this council.

“The Dumfries Learning Town Programme aims to deliver schools that will offer a platform for the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence that are fit for purpose in terms of condition, suitability, and enhanced functionality within digitally enabled environments.

“I am looking forward to receiving a report on the next steps in the Dumfries High School project.”

Depute leader Rob Davidson said: “I am pleased that support has been secured for the replacement of Dumfries High School.

“Modern, state-of-the-art buildings can make a real difference to the lives of pupils, teachers and parents, as well as the wider communities they serve.”

However, the local authority’s bid to relocate Loreburn Primary into the Minerva building along with refurbishments at Dumfries Academy was not successful.

A report will now be submitted to a future meeting of the council to consider other funding options.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said the Scottish Government have betrayed the local community by not fully committing to providing financial support for all of Dumfries Learning Town’s phase two plans.

Mr Smyth said: “The government has never been fully committed to Dumfries Learning Town and this is just further proof.

“We know Loreburn Primary and Dumfries Academy are increasingly no longer fit for purpose and teachers, parents and pupils in Dumfries are being seriously let down by the Scottish Government.

“Fortunately, Dumfries and Galloway Council share my concerns over the lack of government support and has committed to investigating alternative funding and I fully welcome that. It’s vital that it is carried out quickly and a commitment given to both schools that they won’t be left behind as a result of the government’s decision.”

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