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Highland MSP Edward Mountain calls on Scottish Government to seriously consider finding funding for new schools in Nairn and Inverness

By Gregor White

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Conservative MSP Edward Mountain says Nairn Academy, Culloden Academy and Charleston Scademy are not fit for purpose.

During education questions at the Scottish Parliament Mr Mountain challenged education secretary John Swinney to fund new buildings for all three schools.

In the past the schools have each been the subject of reports to Highland Council outlining the need for the ageing buildings to be replaced.

"I’ve recently visited Culloden Academy, Charleston Academy, Nairn Academy and all secondary schools that I have visited that are not fit for purpose," he said.

"Can the Cabinet Secretary confirm he will seriously consider those schools for investment, because some of them are close to falling down?"

Mr Swinney said: “As Mr Mountain knows I am very sympathetic to this issue because I want to see the school estate strengthened.”

He continued: “I myself have visited Nairn Academy and I appreciate the issues and challenges in the estate they face there and, as I have said in my answer, I will consider representations from local authorities in the run up to September 2020.”

Following the exchange in the Holyrood debating chamber, Mr Mountain said: “I welcome the investment made in the new Tain Campus and that must be the start of a wider improvement of the Highland schools estate.”

He added: “I am now pressing Highland Council to make representations to the Scottish Government to ensure pupils at Nairn, Culloden and Charleston have the modern school buildings they need and deserve.”

Highland councillor Liz MacDonald, from Nairn, said she was in full agreement with Mr Mountain’s call.

She said: “We have been pressing the full council to undertake a business plan for Nairn Academy.

“Money is available for a feasibility study but so far it hasn’t progressed.”

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