‘We’ll get back to you’ on £6m for schools

An unsuccessful attempt was made to save Tanshall Primary.
An unsuccessful attempt was made to save Tanshall Primary.

An SNP councillor who asked about a £6m investment in schools says a response of “we’ll get back to you” is simply not good enough.

But he’s been accused of “playground politics” as he should have been aware a report providing more detail was already being prepared for early in the new year.

Cllr Douglas Chapman, the SNP’s education spokesman, said the decision to close Tanshall Primary in Glenrothes, and a number of other schools in Fife, included a promise to invest £6m on improvements at the schools receiving more pupils.

He said the response he received when he asked what was happening about this at last week’s executive committee meeting was totally unacceptable.

Cllr Chapman said: “Following Fife Labour’s extensive school closure programme the people of Fife were promised a £6m investment in Fife schools.

“Some saw this as a cynical bribe based on the assumption that if the Council closed these schools then other schools will receive a significant investment. We are now at the stage where Labour have closed the schools they wanted to close, but they remain strangely silent on the promised £6m investment.

“A glib ‘we’ll get back to you’ response from the Labour administration is not acceptable.”

However, his calls for a report to the next meeting outline details of the funding package and the improvements to be made, have been dismissed by independent councillor Bryan Poole, who is responsible for Fife Council’s education portfolio.

He insisted Cllr Chapman was told two weeks previously at a scrutiny meeting that a report was being prepared on this matter.

And also he pointed out the improvements required in each of the schools receiving additional pupils was agreed back in June 2013 – before any decisions were taken on closures.

Cllr Poole said: “Cllr Chapman has put out a press release supposedly asking a question when he already knows the answer.

“He is guilty here of deliberately misleading the media and more importantly attempting to mislead the public.”

Investment in schools in Glenrothes

Investment of £510,000 at Caskieberran will be used for IT and wireless upgrades, cloakroom and toilet refurbishments, redecoration and floor coverings, and improvements to windows, ceilings and lighting.

Investment of £425,000 at Southwood will be used for IT and wireless upgrades, redecoration and floor coverings, playground upgrade, and improvements to windows, ceilings and lighting.

Improvements to Fife schools will be carried out over three years, beginning early next year.