Friday, August 23, 2019
The skye times mobile

A dilapidated primary school on the Isle of Skye without a safe drinking water supply has never featured on the Highland Council's list of "priority schools for investment", a letter from the Scottish Government has revealed.

Skye MSP Kate Forbes recently wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Education John Swinney, along with parents and pupils from Broadford Primary School to highlight the plight of the ailing school building. 

Pupils, the parent council, the local community council, Skye councillor John Finlayson and Ms Forbes have repeatedly made the case for a new school.

In response, Mr Swinney said that Highland Council had received £63m towards the cost of school projects through the Government's Scotland's Schools for the Future initiative.

The Deputy First Minister added that the beneficiaries of the £63m "were identified by the Highland Council as its priority schools for investment and at no point has the Highland Council approached the Scottish Government to seek funding towards the redevelopment of Broadford Primary".

Broadford Primary has very limited access for wheelchair users because of the number of steps, pest control could not stop slugs reappearing in the classrooms, and even the external doors do not lock.
Some local children have asthma, and believe the damp is making their condition worse. There is also no gym hall.

In his letter to Kate Forbes MSP, the Cabinet Secretary went onto say that since the current Government came to office, Highland Council has received almost £400m in capital grant funding, which could have been used to renew Broadford Primary School had the council chosen to do so.

Mr Swinney also said he was "extremely disappointed that despite being the second highest beneficiary from the Schools for the Future programme, the Highland Council still has the worst condition school estate in Scotland".

Kate Forbes MSP said she was frustrated by the news.

The Skye MSP said: "I can't understand why Broadford Primary School has not been priority and why the Highland Council administration has not made the case for additional investment to the Scottish Government through the Schools for the Future programme.

"This programme is designed to augment the council's capital budget for school buildings, not replace it, and it should have freed up more money so that the council could improve school buildings across the Highlands like Broadford.

"Nobody is in any doubt that the school building is in poor condition - the council leader Margaret Davidson, and senior council committee representatives like Alistair MacKinnon, personally visited the school almost a year ago.

"Despite successive visits, Broadford Primary School has apparently still not appeared on the local authority's priority list as a result.

"Broadford Primary doesn't have a safe drinking water supply, it is mouldy and damp, even the pest control contractors can't keep slugs out of the classroom.

"If this isn't a priority for upgrading, I don't know what is."

Kate Forbes MSP added: "John Finlayson has been working tirelessly on this issue since he was elected last year and I know that his efforts are immensely valued by parents and local residents.

"I hope that he is supported as Highland Council budget priorities are discussed.

"I hope that all Skye councillors have been at the series of meetings to discuss budgets and are making the case loud and clear for Broadford."

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