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Council Leader Confirms Commitment To Wick High School

30th September 2009

The Leader of The Highland Council's Administration Councillor Michael Foxley has urged the Wick High School Parent Council to work with the Council and the Scottish Government to deliver a significant investment at the school.

He said: "This is a time for celebration that Wick High School is going to benefit from a very significant investment. It is important that the Parent Council works closely with the Council and the Scottish Government to secure the best way forward, based on the best possible technical advice."

Early contact would be made with the Scottish Government to establish the detail of the funding package.

He added: "We want our high schools to be the best. We have achieved this in Portree, Dingwall, Kinlochleven and Millburn, Inverness, with new schools. We will also achieve this by carrying out a huge refurbishment involving demolitions and new build at Lochaber High School."

Councillor Foxley visited Wick High School in June for a detailed tour of the facilities with the head teacher and local councillors and fully recognised the acute need for investment either via full replacement or a major upgrade by refurbishing the good parts, such as the original school, whilst demolishing and rebuilding the rest. Council officers had held many meetings in the area to take this forward.

He said: "The Council has campaigned hard behind the scenes to ensure that the Scottish Government has given Wick High School such a high priority for investment ahead of many other worthy claims on this funding. Indeed Wick is one of only 14 schools in the whole of Scotland to attract this level of funding."

Councillor Foxley said he was disappointed and surprised at comments attributed to Professor Iain Baikie in response to the Scottish Government announcement.

Professor Baikie has been quoted as saying that he does not trust the council to do a good job for the community.

Councillor Foxley said: "If this the case, the comments are an insult to the council and reflect badly on Professor Baikie as a leader of the local campaign group. I am hugely disappointed and quite frankly shocked by his response. This is a time to celebrate the good news that major funding is coming the way of Wick - not for recrimination - and for the Parent Council to work in partnership with the Council and the Scottish Government to achieve what is best for the future of the school."

The Council, he added, was already progressing a technical feasibility study into three options for the future development of the school. "We will consult fully with the local community and listen to their views. By January of next year, we should have the report from our consultants and will be able to take informed decisions based on their findings and recommendations."

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