Fife’s education leader welcomes ‘ambitious’ £300m blueprint

Fife Council Headquarters in Glenrothes
Fife Council Headquarters in Glenrothes

Fife’s education convener has hailed the region’s £300m “ambitious plan” for schools.

Councillor Fay Sinclair’s comments came as the local authority formally rubber-stamped its budget which will see education having to find £1.5m of savings.

The blueprint for the schools estates includes plans for replacement buildings across the region.

Councillor Sinclair said: “This is a clear commitment to delivering new high school buildings and ensuring expanded capacity across nursery, primary and secondary sectors.

“I am delighted to see such a massive rise in the capital plan’s education investment to more than £373m. I can’t wait to start seeing real progress on delivering more the very best educational facilities for our young people in Fife.”

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Fife Council will more than treble previously outlined investment in high school buildings, with over £169m allocated for replacement buildings and increased capacity in West Fife, Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes. Over £117m is allocated to West Fife towards replacement buildings for Inverkeithing, Woodmill and St Columba’s High Schools, as well as funding additional high school capacity to accommodate pupils from new housing developments in the area over the next 10 years.

Expanding capacity at Auchmuty in Glenrothes will be funded by £9.6m investment, with £27.5m allocated towards replacing Glenrothes and Glenwood High Schools.

A £6m extension for Viewforth High School in Kirkcaldy is also planned, along with £8.3m in later years for work to upgrade Balwearie High School.

Councillor Sinclair added: “Our ability to deliver these ambitious plans is dependent on significant levels of additional capital funding from the Scottish Government, but this financial commitment will mean we are well placed to access our share of £1bn investment in education infrastructure announced by John Swinney last year.

“In addition, we will now see the funds long allocated for the new Madras College in St Andrews being utilised, with planning permission at Langlands secured and work already underway on the access road to the site.”

The early learning and childcare expansion will be funded by Scottish Government grants of £17.3m in the next two years to complete 40 new build, extended or refurbished nurseries to support the delivery of 1140 hours of early learning and childcare for all three and four year olds and eligible two year olds in Fife by 2020.