28/09/2009

Harris Academy Announcement

The Scottish Government announced today that Harris Academy is to be included in the programme to build 14 new schools in Scotland. Along with my colleague Laurie Bidwell I welcomed this announcement but we still need to get a lot more detail about how this will be delivered.

Harris Academy Announcement


Councillor Laurie Bidwell said: 'I welcome The announcement this morning by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, that Harris Academy is to receive Government funding towards its major refurbishment. This is hopeful news for education at Harris Academy. I am pleased that the SNP Government and the SNP Administration on the City Council have listened to our campaign. But many questions need to be answered about the details attached to the decision. Much more needs to be clarified before the champagne corks should be popping. I have placed an item on the Education committee agenda tonight (Monday 28 September 2009). I shall be asking for:
confirmation of the timescale for the comprehensive refurbishment at Harris Academy. When can work start? Is the start date so far off that any current pupils will not enjoy the new and upgraded facilities?
confirmation of the amount that the Scottish Government has committed. Is it £1 million or £20 million? That will make a make a huge difference to what can be achieved;
clarification of how the council's share of the costs will be financed. The government announcement in June suggested 60% from them and 40% from the council. To finance the Harris Academy refurbishment would mean at least £8 million borrowing for the council to find. What other planned capital improvements may have to be delayed to make way for the refurbishment of Harris Academy? Will the Labour planned replacements of a new Primary School and Nursery in Whitfield, the two replacement Primary Schools and a Nursery for Lochee-Charleston, the replacement Schools for Park Place Primary School and Nursery and St Joseph's Primary School all need to go back down the queue?'
'I should like to thank all those people who have supported our campaign and petition over the months and weeks since my first press release about about Harris Academy in June , but the campaign must continue until we are reassured that the comprehensive refurbishment is to be fully and speedily implemented.'

Councillor Richard McCready said:
'The refurbishment of Harris Academy is good news for the school and for the West End. I am glad that the SNP Administration on the City Council listened to our campaign and eventually made the case for Harris Academy which has the support of local people.'

'Hopefully, this marks the long awaited start to the refurbishment of Harris Academy. If Labour had been in power in Edinburgh this would be under way by now. The SNP promised to match Labour's school spending 'brick for brick', where are the other projects? Which other Dundee schools will be included in a future refurbishment or rebuilding programme?'