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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 21:18 GMT
New school buildings 'priority'
Madras College
Madras College is one of three school likely to be rebuilt
A senior politician has given the clearest indication yet that three new schools will be built in Fife.

Madras College in St Andrews would be rebuilt on a single site, Dunfermline High could get a new building and a new school is planned for Kirkcaldy.

Attempts to secure government cash are being made but Cllr Douglas Chapman said money for schools was available.

Budget savings have been announced by Fife Council, which has freed up about 60m over the next three years.

Councillors hope to use some of that cash, along with central funding, to improve school buildings across the area.

Funding issue

The three schools have been earmarked for improvements since 2005 and have been identified as being in desperate need of modernisation.

Education officials have been hoping to secure money from the government's proposed Scottish Future's Trust to pay for the work.

The creation of the trust, which would be similar to PFI projects, is undergoing a period of consultation. However, cllr Chapman said alternative funding is available.

The earliest any new school is likely to be ready though is 2009/10.

Cllr Chapman, the council's chairman of education and children's services, said: "The three schools mentioned in 2005, the conditions have not altered so they are very much in the list of priorities."

The SNP councillor suggested building projects for other schools were also being considered.

He said: "People are caught up on the idea of three new schools. We need to tackle the wider schools issue.

"We are trying to do more [school improvements] but it may not mean a direct replacement."

Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Claire Baker, said the council's position was no clearer.

She said: "After the best part of a year in government the SNP still seem to have no idea where the money will come from for new schools and refurbishments in Fife and I think parents, pupils and teachers will be particularly depressed to read that new schools will not be available for a number of years.

"The SNP are holding out for money from their alternative to PFI, the Scottish Futures Trust, but it doesn't even exist yet."

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