Fresh talks over ‘superschool’ to prevent Invergowrie pupils from 20-mile trip to school
Education bosses from Perth and Kinross Council are hoping to bring plans for a new cross-boundary “superschool” back to the table.by Ross Gardiner
The proposed secondary school, which would also have served pupils from the eastern Carse of Gowrie, as well as parts of Dundee and Angus, was shelved last year after each of the local authorities held consultations on the suggestion.
However, Dundee City Council has now decided to review the catchment area for Harris Academy in a move that could leave youngsters from Invergowrie facing a 20-mile trip to Perth High School, instead of the two-mile journey to Perth Road at present.
Carse politicians say they are keen to save children from having to make the trek to Perth and are hoping their counterparts in the city of discovery will re-examine the cross-boundary school plan in the light of the new situation.
Perth and Kinross Council’s lifelong learning convener Caroline Shiers is due to meet Dundee City Council leader John Alexander, today to discuss options.
Carse of Gowrie Conservative councillor Angus Forbes said: “I really feel that the long term solution to this problem is to build a joint school with Dundee and the eastern end of the Carse of Gowrie.
“I was delighted to learn that Councillor Shiers is to meet Councillor Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council to have an informal, early stage discussion about their views on how that could work.
“Knowing how pressed every council’s budget is, this will require Scottish Government funding and I have already been in touch with (education minister and local MSP) John Swinney about this matter.
“The other thing I am doing to help progress this particular matter is to meet with the chairperson of the Western Gateway Community Group to discuss how we can work together. They have a requirement for a school and have been told they won’t get one until at least 2025. They have elected representation on Dundee Council which residents of Invergowrie don’t have.”
The plans to create a superschool serving children between the ages of two and 18 from the three areas collapsed last year. Mr Alexander said according to council figures there were only 58 children living in the Western Gateway – too few to justify the new school.
At the time he said it was not a priority for the city, adding: “We’re not saying we’re not doing the school, what we’re saying is this is not the time to do it.”