The sooner, the better for New Waid Academy

Cllr Elizabeth Riches
Cllr Elizabeth Riches
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A NEW Waid Academy took a step closer to reality after Fife Council pledged to commit £10m as part of its budget announcement last week.

The cash is earmarked for 2017/18 but could be released earlier if alternative sources of funding meet a total projected build cost of £27m.

Welcoming the news, Councillor Elizabeth Riches commented the need for a new Waid had been identified a decade ago.

“The sooner we can bring the plans forward, the better,” she said.

Waid’s Victorian premises are unable to cope with a roll of 834 students - a number which has risen by 25 per cent in recent years due to placement requests.

Currently, 40 per cent of pupils are taught in hutted classrooms.

“We need to work carefully to ensure that high level plans are looking at all needs and are exploring different opportunities,” said Cllr Riches.

“Monies may become available unexpectedly and we need to show we can move forward as soon as possible. Equally we need to explore any potential source of funding.

“I have asked that Scottish Future Trust is approached to indicate that if another Council is unable to take forward a project that Fife Council would be ready to step forward.”

It is believed a new school could be built within the landscape footprint of the existing building and a feasibility study - which will now be undertaken - is essential to applying for the extra funds.

Councillor Donald Macgregor praised Waid staff for providing an excellent education to pupils, despite having to teach in substandard conditions.

He commented: “Waid is the only remaining Fife secondary school that is judged C for condition and for suitability.

“Staff have to cope with 40 per cent of classrooms provided in huts, a distinct lack of social space and obvious security difficulties.

“Despite all of this an excellent standard of education is provided to pupils of all abilities and the school has a very special ethos.”