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New High School For Wick Now Certain As Funding Announced

1st June 2010

Major investment is great news for Wick

The Highland Council has warmly welcomed confirmation that Wick High School is to attract significant funding from the Scottish Government which will help provide a new school on a greenfield site, incorporating community facilities such as a new swimming pool, community library and performance venue.

The grant from the Scottish Government will be 18.4 million and is likely to be available to allow construction work to start in 2012-13. The Highland Council will be expected to meet the balance of the project costs.

The offer includes funding for community facilities, including a replacement swimming pool, and this will have implications for the site of the new school. This issue has already been identified within a report that will be considered by Members in due course.

The school is one of 14 secondary schools in Scotland to attract funding from the Scottish Futures Trust in recognition of its condition and suitability, which were highlighted in the Council's annual report on the condition of its school estate to the Scottish Government.

Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of the Education Culture and Sport Committee, said: "This is really great news for Wick High School and will be warmly welcomed by the staff and pupils and everyone who has been campaigning so hard for investment in the school.

"The inclusion of community facilities is also great news for the wider community."

Council Leader Michael Foxley is delighted that the Council's support for the community campaign to win Scottish Government funding has paid off.

He said: "This is a major success for all those involved in campaigning for a replacement of Wick High School. The inclusion of a swimming pool, library and performance venue will provide excellent modern facilities on the one site and make the school the hub of the town.

"We must ensure that the Scottish Futures Trust design includes local community needs. We hope the Scottish Government will assist us with at least one new primary school in the near future."

Investment To Deliver 35 New Schools

Plans for 300 million investment from the Scottish Government to deliver 35 new schools is going ahead.

The first tranche of the 1.25 billion Scotland's Schools for the Future programme will see every local authority benefit. Funding will be made available for 14 secondary schools, 20 primary schools and one special school, with the Scottish Futures Trust working in partnership with the councils to deliver the new projects.

Keith Brown, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, said:"Scotland's Schools for the Future represents much needed Government investment - over 300m through this first tranche - which will benefit pupils, teachers, families and communities the length and breadth of Scotland.

"We have already lifted over 110,000 pupils from schools in poor condition, reversing the trend of under-investment and neglect in Scotland's school estate. Today's announcement will see a further 18,000 pupils and over 1,300 teachers move to fit-for-purpose, modern learning facilities that meets the needs of education in the 21st Century.

"The timescales agreed for the first tranche set out a way ahead that is affordable and realistic for both the Scottish Government and the councils, given the current economic climate. Of course, through councils own resources, they may be able to start procurement, design and - in some cases - building prior to Government funding coming on stream.

"Despite the prospect of a reduced budget from Westminster, our 1.25 billion school building programme demonstrates our overwhelming commitment to our young people and to Scotland's communities. This investment will boost the local economy across the country, creating and maintaining employment in the years ahead."

Barry White, Chief Executive, Scottish Futures Trust, said:"Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) is working closely with councils to deliver Scotland's Schools for the Future programme, which will build high quality, well designed and sustainable schools while ensuring best value for the taxpayer.

"Because of the huge scale of Scotland's Schools for the Future programme, SFT will be able to make savings which will bring real benefits to taxpayers for many years to come."

Building work on the first projects will commence in 2010. We would expect the first primary school to be completed in 2011, with the first secondary school completed in 2013.

The Scottish Government is funding the construction of secondary schools on a 67/33 basis with local authorities, while primary school projects are on a 50/50 basis, on like for like facilities. In total, the Scottish Government will contribute a 800 million share of the 1.25 billion provided through Scotland's Schools for the Future.

The first tranche investment from the Scottish Government will be over 300 million - subject to inflationary increases based on when funding comes on-stream.