Council leader criticised for failure to name schools in £13m refit

Moray’s council leader has come under fire for failing to identify several primary schools that are scheduled to receive refurbishment under a £13million programme.

Tenders have been requested by the local authority for the extensive work to be carried out on six school buildings – but council leader Alan Wright says that naming which buildings at this time would cause concern for parents whose children are taught in older ones.

Councillors are set to consider a consultancy report over the future of the entire school estate in Moray, with parents at several primary schools already taking action to try and avoid their children being moved and their schools closed.

A high-profile campaign is also under way at Milnes High School in Fochabers, the only secondary school considered to be under threat by the Sustainable Education Review.

Facing a £70million total bill for upgrading schools in the region, the local authority engaged consultants Caledonian Economics who have prepared a report that will be considered by Councillors later this month.

Councillor Wright has said that council officials have been choosing schools which would be “most suitable for refurbishment”, but added that no decisions had been taken and would not be until the review had been concluded.

But the Council are being criticised by Richard Lochhead MSP, who said: “People and parents in the community will rightly take this as an indication about the future, given the wider issues surrounding the school estate.

“Refurbishing schools is an essential and worthwhile investment. However, the council has a duty to be open and transparent about the process. It is hard to envisage how the companies can be expected to submit bids unless they know which schools are involved and exactly what needs to be done.

“The information must be available somewhere and parents should be kept informed.”

The refurbishment work advertised by Moray Council involves replacement of doors, roofs and windows at six schools alongside electrical and heating system upgrades.

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