Tayside and Central Scotland

High school faces axe in Dundee school estate shake-up

Harris Academy Image copyright Dundee City Council
Image caption Pupils from Menzieshill High could attend the new Harris Academy, pictured, when it opens in 2016

Dundee City Council has proposed a major shake-up of the city's school estate, including the closure of Menzieshill High School.

If the move is approved, pupils from the "half empty" school would transfer to the newly built Harris Academy when it opens in August 2016.

Other proposals include a new campus school combining three primaries and a nursery in the east end of the city.

The plans will go before councillors ahead of a wider consultation.

With 487 pupils, Menzieshill High is currently at 48% occupancy, and council education convener Stewart Hunter said there was no prospect of the situation improving in future.

All staff from the school will be offered jobs elsewhere in the city, and its feeder primaries would all send their pupils to Harris, with the exception of pupils at Rosebank Primary who would go to Morgan Academy.

'Strong views'

Mr Hunter, a former Menzieshill High pupil, said he would be sad to see the school close if the proposals were approved, but said it would be "to the educational benefit" of the city.

He said: "The numbers are quite stark, the school is more more than half empty and this is not a sustainable position.

"I can understand that many people will have strong views on these proposals. I would like them to think about the future and how we provide the best possible education for our pupils.

"That will not happen as the roll continues to decline at Menzieshill High.

"If pupils go to the new build Harris Academy, they will be offered the full curriculum - this is not the case at Menzieshill High at the moment because of the implications of such a small pupil roll."

Campus schools

The new campus development in the east end would see Longhaugh Nursery and Primary join up with a merger of St Luke's and St Matthew's Primary and St Vincent's Primary.

It mirrors developments in other parts of the city to combine schools into campuses, with Gowriehill Primary and Hillside Primary merging with Menzieshill Nursery, and Rosebank Primary and Our Lady's Roman Catholic Primary joining with Frances Wright Pre-School in the Coldside area.

The local authority is yet to hear back from the Scottish Futures Trust how much funding will be made available for the project.

Both proposals would require a lengthy formal consultation under the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act.

A number of projects to revamp the city's school estate are already underway, including the £31m replacement of Harris Academy, and a new all-through campus at Baldragon Academy incorporating Sidlaw View Primary and Jessie Porter Nursery.

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