Following a period of statutory consultation, The Highland Council is recommending the replacement of Wick’s four primary schools with two new purpose built facilities.
A report to be considered by the Education Culture and Sport Committee on Thursday 10 November will recommend the Council spends almost £20 million on two new community schools – one to the north of the River Wick and one to the south.
This will complement the £37 million earmarked for the replacement of Wick High School, which will also include a replacement community swimming pool and community library.
To the north of Wick the Council proposes to amalgamate Hillhead and North Primary Schools in a new school building on land available within North Primary School. The school, estimated to cost £10.5 million, would cater for approx 360 pupils.
To the south, the Council proposes to join the South and Pulteneytown Academy Primary Schools in a new school to be built on the site of the existing Wick High School playing field site and the site of Pultneytown Academy Primary School. The new school would cater for 360 pupils at an estimated cost of £9.225 million. It is proposed that the new Primary School, which would also house the existing Caithness Early Years Autism unit, will be co-joined to the new Wick High School building thereby creating a purpose-built 3 to 18 campus.
In response to the almost universal views expressed during the consultation period, it is proposed to alter the delineated areas of the Wick Primary Schools along the lines of the natural boundary provided by the River Wick with effect from the date when the new schools open, i.e. pupils living to the north of the River Wick would attend school on the north side of the river and pupils living to the south of the river would attend school on the south side of the river.
Subject to the proposal being approved, the Director of Housing and Property would be instructed to dispose of the sites and buildings currently occupied by Hillhead Primary School and South Primary School in accordance with current Council policy and in accordance with the requirements of the title deeds
The formal consultation period ran from 16 August until 26 September and written representations on the proposal were sought from interested parties in terms of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.
The public have a further three weeks in which to comment on the proposals, which will be considered by The Highland Council’s Education Culture and Sport Committee on Thursday 10 November.
The report concludes: “Taken with the proposed development of the new Wick High School, these proposals will place every pupil in Wick in excellent new education facilities within four years, something few comparable towns in Scotland can offer.”