What Next for Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School?
2 October 2012
No Scottish Government funding for their rebuild
Labour's Education Spokersperson in Dundee, Councillor Laurie Bidwell said:
"Last week I was delighted to hear about the success of the Council's bid to the Scottish Future's Trust (SFT) for funding towards the cost of rebuilding Baldragon Academy.
“In about five years time pupils and teachers should be moving into their new Baldragon subject to a number of important formalities such as local consultations and gaining planning permission.
"The Council's Education Committee approved a bid at their meeting on 25 June 2012 for "a new build programme and shared campus in the Strathmartine area to include:
• a new Baldragon Academy and
• a new Sidlaw View Primary School, integrated with Jessie Porter Nursery School.
Unfortunately, only part of the Council's bid was approved; that part for Baldragon Academy.
"So while those folk associated with Baldragon Academy will have been feeling upbeat on hearing their positive news, it must have been very disappointing for those associated with Jessie Porter Nursery School and Sidlaw View Primary School to hear that their schools had lost out.
"But I don't think we can just leave it there.
“In Committee Report in June, we were told that Sidlaw View is currently operating well below capacity at 38.5% and the condition of Jessie Porter Nursery is classified as 'poor'.
“This was emphasised by Council leader Ken Guild who said in a press release at the time:
'By replacing older school buildings that are coming to the end of their useful life we will be creating bright, open, modern learning environments for pupils across the city" and "a shared campus in Strathmartine is too good a chance to pass up.'
Later, he was quoted in the press as saying that these and other schools which were to be replaced were all 'past their sell by dates.'
“If that was true then it must still be true just a few months later.
"I shall be writing to the Education Convener, Stewart Hunter and Education Director, Michael Wood, to ask that they report back to the Education Committee at our next meeting in October.
“I think we are under an obligation to work out how we will fund that part of the Strathmartine Campus which has not been supported by the Scottish Government.
"This includes the 40% cost of rebuilding Baldragon unfunded by the Scottish Futures Trust and now 100% of the cost of Jessie Porter Nursery School and Sidlaw View Primary School.
“Incidentally only 50% of the costs of rebuilding the Primary School and Nursery would have qualified for government cash anyway so the Council must have had some money lined up to pay the Council share of their rebuilding anyway."
Councillor Kevin Keenan, Labour group leader on Dundee City Council and Strathmartine councillor, said,
"I have to say it is disappointing that the SNP Government didn't see the benefits of or have the foresight to approve the larger project which would have taken into account the needs of Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery."
"I hope that this is not a project which will disappear just because we have been let down by the Scottish Government.
“Council have now built an expectation amongst the parents, staff and pupils of these two schools and this Government has landed that burden directly back with the City Council."
"The Council has an ability to borrow funds at competitive rates.
“As a local Councillor representing the area, I would not like to see any further backtracking.
“ The SNP Administration in Dundee must commit to rebuilding these two schools."
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