Funding for new North Uist school

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have been successful in their bid for funding towards the construction of a new primary school in North Uist.

The Scottish Government announced yesterday (Wednesday) that an extra 12 schools will be built under the third and final phase of Scotland’s Schools for the Future, after £80 million was brought forward in last week’s budget,

Commenting on the news, the Comhairle’s Chair of Education and Children’s Services, Cllr Catriona Stewart, said: “This is a welcome announcement and we look forward to discussing the details with all interested parties, including the local communities and the Scottish Government. The Comhairle will look at taking this project forward through the next Capital Programme acknowledging that it will be challenging financially.

“The Comhairle has been extremely successful in its new schools programme with six new schools opened in the past year. A new primary school in North Uist would further enhance the quality of educational facilities in the Outer Hebrides for pupils, parents and staff alike.”

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan also welcomed the news but called for consultation with the local community.

He said: “While today’s announcement by the Scottish Government confirms the Comhairle’s bid for funding towards a new North Uist school has been successful, I understand there is still some way to go before any decision is taken by the Comhairle about what and where they would like to build.

“Whilst the concept of a more modern school environment for North Uist pupils to learn in certainly has attractions, many people in North Uist have made the case that these have to be balanced against the potential increase in travelling distances for some children, and the wider impact that individual school closures will have on each affected community.

“These are amongst many considerations which must now be examined by a consultation process in which the whole community will have a say on a question of profound importance for the future provision of education in North Uist. Today’s announcement does not enter into any of those questions, but confirms that funding is available if required.”