On the 20th December, the Cabinet Secretary for Education met with MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, along with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s leader, Cllr Paul Steele, and chief executive, Malcolm Burr, to discuss a long-term solution to significant problems with the fabric of Castlebay School.
A replacement for the school building had been due to be incorporated into the Barra and Vatersay Community Campus Project, along with new healthcare and social care housing facilities. However, progress on the Community Hub was paused earlier this year after it was announced that there were issues in securing the necessary capital funding for the healthcare aspect of the build.
In the meeting, clarification was sought over the options presently at the Comhairle’s disposal to address the issues with Castlebay School building, as well as confirming the continued education department’s budget commitments to the school’s replacement in the form of LEAP funding, percentage contribution to additional costs incurred due to the island location, and the Gaelic Capital Fund.
Following the meeting, Alasdair Allan commented: “I am grateful to the Cabinet Secretary and her officials for meeting with us, and for their ongoing work to deliver the clarity required by the comhairle as key decisions are taken on the next steps and timescales for the much-needed delivery of new school, leisure and social care housing facilities for Barra and Vatersay.
“It is patently clear that the situation with Castlebay High School, in particular, cannot be sustained for much longer – it is vital that pupils, teachers and support staff are working in a comfortable and appropriate environment. I look forward to continued engagement with colleagues as matters progress in the weeks ahead.”