In an article in the Dundee Courier on Wednesday, Education Convener Liz Fordyce confirmed that the SNP have no plans for new schools in the City beyond the plans that Labour initiated during 2007/9 when they they led the coalition running the council.
During my time as Education Convener, I brought forward plans for a Council funded programme of school building which comprised six new schools. This included a replacement Kingspark School, a replacement Primary School in Whitfield and replacement joint campus Primary Schools in the West End and Lochee - Charleston. During this time, a feasibility study was also carried out on the refurbishment or the replacement of Harris Academy.
This followed Labour's Scottish Government funded Public Private Partnership (PPP) school building programme that built 2 secondary schools (Grove and St Paul's) and six primary schools and nurseries (Claypotts Castle, Downfield, Craigowl, Rowantree, Fintry and St Andrew's).
Liz Fordyce said:
"It was impossible for the council to commit to building more new schools beyond those already programmed because of the difficult financial climate."
Significantly, she did not mention her party's broken promises on a largely government funded school building. In their May 2007 manifesto for the Holyrood elections, the SNP claimed that they would 'match Labour's PPP programme brick for brick'. While the financial crisis began in summer 2009, it doesn't explain the two wasted years while her party running the Holyrood government and not commissioning one new school.
I think Liz Fordyce's statement extinguishes hope for the those schools waiting their turn for refurbishment or replacement in Dundee. In my own constituency in the Ferry, I think this puts paid to any hope of the SNP bringing forward plans for a refurbishment and extension of Barhill Primary School.