THE Conservative group on Fife Council has called for a rethink on secondary education in north east Fife in the light of the collapse of the project to build a new £40 million school in St Andrews.
Negotiations between the local authority and St Andrews University on a replacement for Madras College – to be built on a site at Langlands – broke down last week amid a war of words over who was to blame.
The Tories’education spokesman, Councillor Ron Caird, said: “In 2007, the Conservatives campaigned for a new school in the Tay Bridgehead area.
“While we haven’t changed our view on that, we held back from criticising the SNP/Lib Dem proposal for a new Madras College on the university site as we realised that that was the quickest way to a badly needed new school.
“However, it’s been increasingly obvious for some time that the project faced many problems that the administration declined to answer.
“In the excitement over the potential involvement between school and university several difficulties were pushed to the side.
“One was bussing large numbers of pupils at a time when the council could face penalties for failing to reduce its carbon footprint.”
The Conservatives are now calling on the council to implement a two school solution incorporating a new Tay Bridgehead School and a refurbished Madras on the South Street site, as preferred by St Andrews parents.
Councillor Caird went on: “A two-school solution offers huge advantages in terms of travelling times and carbon footprint at a time when Fife Council’s school transport costs are on the rise.
“At present, the majority of Madras pupils are bussed in from the north.
“If implemented in conjunction with a scheme for sharing classes or teachers in minority subjects in fifth and sixth year, the Conservative proposals offer pupils in the Madras catchment the best of both a large and a smaller secondary school.”