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New Dumfries High School Given The Green Light

A new Dumfries High School has been given the green light by the Scottish Government. Cosla today (Friday 18 December) have published details of the next phase of the Learning Estate Investment Programme. The replacement for Dumfries High School is included within the programme.

Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme will enable almost £800 million of investment and deliver 25 new schools and campuses to be constructed or refurbished to provide modern, state of the art learning facilities for approximately 21,000 children and young people across Scotland.

At the meeting of Full Council in September, councillors approved the Council’s bid to the Learning Estate Investment Programme to seek support for the second phase of the Dumfries Learning Town programme. The bid included the Dumfries High School replacement and the proposal for the relocation of Loreburn Primary into the Minerva building and partial refurbishment of Dumfries Academy. We have received confirmation that only the Dumfries High School has been included in this phase of the Scottish Government’s programme

Our council remains committed to delivering the Dumfries Learning Town Programme. The confirmation received from the Scottish Government means that not all parts of the Programme will be supported through the Learning Estate Programme. Therefore, a report will be presented to a future meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council to consider capital funding options for the relocation of Loreburn Primary into the Minerva building and partial refurbishment of Dumfries Academy.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Elaine Murray, said “Phase 2 of the Dumfries Learning Town Programme remains a priority for this council. Following today’s announcement, I will ask for a future report to come forward to look at options on how the relocation of Loreburn Primary can be funded.
The Dumfries Learning Town Programme aims to deliver schools that will offer a platform for the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence that are fit for purpose in terms of condition, suitability, and enhanced functionality within digitally enabled environments. They will create schools which are beyond the building maximising outdoor learning, enhancing and supporting wellbeing, inclusion, and transitions.
Following today’s announcement, I am looking forward to receiving a report on the next steps in the Dumfries High School project.”
Depute Leader, Cllr Rob Davidson said “I am pleased that support has been secured for the replacement of Dumfries High School. Modern, state of the art buildings can make a real difference to the lives of pupils, teachers and parents, as well as the wider communities they serve. Creating and maintaining high quality, fit for purpose educational facilities demonstrates to pupils, teachers, staff and the community how valuable learning is.
The plans for these schools will see them offer a range of services, activities and facilities that make a difference to people’s health and wellbeing, to sustaining economic growth in Dumfries, and to the strength and vibrancy of the economy of Dumfries and Galloway.”
Dumfries High School Head Teacher, Phil Cubbon, said “The announcement is absolutely fantastic news for everyone concerned with Dumfries High School and the wider community. It has been a long time coming and to say that we are all thrilled is an understatement. This is another exciting chapter for Dumfries High School and I look forward to things progressing so that it enables us to welcome our young people into a brand new school building as soon as we can”

Phase 1 of the Dumfries Learning Town Programme were supported by the Scottish Government and have been delivered. These are –
• St Joseph’s College (refurbishment)
• The Bridge (new build)
• North West Community Campus (new build) (closure of Maxwelltown High School, Lochside Primary School, St Ninians Primary School, Langlands School and Elmbank)

About the Dumfries High School Replacement:

Dumfries High School is at end of life and has significant and high-risk backlog maintenance issues. There are structural issues with the main concrete frame of the building, and these are required to be regularly monitored having a limited lifespan. The school also has limited accessibility to upper floors. The plans to replace this school will include a reduction in the school capacity from the current 1,376 to 796, which is the current school roll. In addition to this, the school have a community partnership agreement with Greystone Rovers Football Club who operate the sports facilities on site, this arrangement will continue as new facilities are developed to grow the community use of the site. The re-build would deliver enhanced Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, Mathematics (STEAM) learning through a hub and spoke model of learning. Classrooms will be equipped with the latest technology to ensure actual and virtual (digital) access for senior phase learners from across Dumfries & Galloway’s schools. We will plan to provide STEAM teacher education in partnership with the University of Glasgow, where there will be a teaching ‘hub’ for early phase (student teachers and probationer teachers) to develop and enhance their skills. The STEAM hub will develop links with the local and wider community to
enhance and build the workforce for the future, ensuring appropriately skilled young people who are able to fulfil emerging roles in the job market in particular with a focus on renewable energies.

About the Loreburn Primary relocation:

Loreburn Primary School also has significant backlog maintenance issues and is not functionally suitable. The building started life as part of a college complex, converting to a secondary school, with a final change to the current primary school configuration in 1980.

The building was never designed as a primary school, which inevitably leads to compromises across various elements of use. It has poor accessibility for staff, pupils or parents, the teaching spaces have been created out of larger spaces which are not conducive to modern teaching methods, the associated spaces are poor with no internal assembly/PE space, cramped dining facilities, limited staffroom and office accommodation etc for a school of this size. Externally there is limited hardstanding no ability to extend due to the landlocked nature of the site, and there is no dedicated green space for the school to access.
Delivery of these projects will shrink the school estate by a further 5,612m2, making best use of existing facilities, and will provide modern, fit for purpose facilities fully supporting the learning journey.