New school campus on the cards for Forfar

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FORFAR Academy will be one of many schools across Scotland to be rebuilt as part of a £1.25 billion Scottish Government Investment.

Earlier this summer, the school was identified by Angus Council as the building most in need of replacement or upgrade in the county.

The school, which has condition and suitability both graded ‘B’, was marked as the most likely candidate for upgrade, the Education Committee heard at a meeting on June 19. Monifieth High School and Arbroath Academy were also cited as buildings in need of an upgrade.

It is understood that the development of Forfar Academy will be in line with the community campus plan provided for Brechin High School.

Speaking of the government’s plans, Education Secretary Michael Russell, said: “Providing the best possible school accommodation is vital to the successful delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. The first two phases of Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme are already lifting thousands of pupils out of poor quality buildings.

“We have met every local authority’s request for priority builds and added an extra 12 schools to the programme because of the Scottish Futures Trust’s vigorous commitment to value for money. More schools are being built, and faster, but for the same level of investment as originally planned.

“By the time the programme finishes, local and Scottish Government will have built 67 new schools, lifting over 46,000 pupils into top quality accommodation.

“This is also fantastic news for Scotland’s construction sector. By identifying all 30 schools now, we can get the projects moving and offer some certainty to one of Scotland’s key industries, providing a welcome boost to our economic recovery.

“I look forward to seeing how these projects will develop in the coming months and will endeavour to visit as many as I can.”

Council leader Iain Gaul welcomed the news that the Scottish Government will provide some of the funding for the development. He said: “The council has recognised that there is an urgent need to replace Forfar Academy with a building fit for modern educational purposes.

“Funding from the government towards a new school, along with the provision of first class leisure facilities for the community, which will also provide an economic boost to the area, is welcome.

“The improved leisure facilities provided as part of the new school project for use by the community could include better playing fields, and improved gym, games hall and changing facilities.

“The provision of enhanced leisure facilities, as part of a possible community campus approach which could also encompass accommodation for community learning and development and vocational learning, will be the subject of further consideration by the council. We will engage with the Forfar community as this project progresses.

“However, while we are pleased with the announcement, we will now have to consider the impact that the council’s significant share of the funding towards this project will have on our capital programme.”

Councillor David May, who serves on the Angus education committee, added: “I am delighted that Forfar is included in the list of the new school building programme and await the details of what is being offered by the Scottish Government.

“I have heard complaints in the media about the lack of storage space and smaller classrooms in the most recently built new schools so will study what is being offered in detail as we want the best for our school youngsters and staff in these new schools.”