Call to take stock of condition of schools

A CUPAR councillor has called for a “radical overhaul” of the whole school estate in north east Fife after it was made clear that Fife Council budget cuts will affect the maintenance programme for schools.

Independent councillor Bryan Poole made the comments following a meeting held in Ceres on Monday night to discuss a possible merger between the village school and Craigrothie and Pitlessie primary schools.

He said that while the meeting had a good atmosphere and those present welcomed the idea of a new school for the area, the information relayed by the local authority’s area education officer John McLaughlin showed that all of the area’s ageing schools may suffer due to the cutbacks.

Councillor Poole said that perhaps as well as looking at the future of these particular schools, Fife Council should be assessing the state of all local schools to see where, if necessary, savings could best be made.

He said: “The meeting was very good and there was a lot of positive discussion.

“I think it would also be a positive move to look at the rest of our schools to assess what is best in the long term.”

Councillor Poole said the council should also be looking at all options open to it in order to make sure schools are fit for the future.

“It may be that if parents in Pitlessie, for example, were happy for their children to relocated they would rather they went to a school in the Howe of Fife than Ceres,” he said.

Commenting on the Ceres meeting, Mr McLaughlin said: “We had a very helpful discussion with parents and I’m very grateful so many people turned out.

“These are very early discussions and are not formal proposals for amalgamation.”

During the meeting, Mr McLaughlin said that if the proposal was not accepted by parents, then plans to build a £1.2 million extension to Ceres Primary School – scheduled to begin this summer – would go ahead as planned.

Parents of children attending Craigrothie Primary School were due to have the chance to express their views at a meeting with Mr McLaughlin last night (Thursday), while Pitlessie parents will be able to discuss the possible school merger on Thursday, January 20.