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Funding secured for new Forres Academy

By Alistair Whitfield

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The current Forres Academy will be replaced.
The current Forres Academy will be replaced.

FUNDING has been secured to replace the current Forres Academy building which has problems with faulty concrete.

It was announced earlier today that Forres has been chosen by the Scottish Government as one of ten school projects across the country that will receive a share of £450-500 million.

Moray Council says it now hopes to have the new school building open to pupils in time for the start of the academic year in August 2027.

The council's bid for Forres was selected in the third phase of the Sottish Government’s £2 billion learning estate investment programme (LEIP).

However a similar request for funding to replace Buckie High School was turned down.

Kathleen Robertson, the leader of Moray Council, stated she very pleased to get the go-ahead in Forres, adding there would be opportunities for local people to have their say on the design and layout of the new building.

Councillor Robertson (Forres, Conservative) added: "We know the condition of the school has been a source of concern for some time. The discovery of RAAC concrete earlier this year only heightened the need for a replacement.

"Engagement has already begun with with pupils, parents and carers, school staff, communities and partners, with a well-attended drop-in session just last week in Forres Library.

"It’s disappointing that the funding bid for Buckie High School has not progressed at this stage, but we’re committed to progressing with the project and will know more about what that looks like in the new year.

"All Moray’s young people should have access to high-quality, up-to-date learning facilities that we can all be proud of."

Part of the current school building has been closed since mid-Sepember following the discovery of defective RAAC concrete.

It also temporarily shut last week due to flooding caused by Storm Babet.

The council says a case setting out where the new school should be sited, and what it should contain, will be developed in line with the LEIP programme.

It adds that public consultations with townsfolk will continue over the next three months.

The Scottish Government will pay for the building works, while the council will have to pay for the upkeep costs of the new school over a 25-year period.

Richard Lochhead, Moray's MSP said: "I’m delighted the Scottish Government has committed to funding to build a new Forres Academy, which will bring huge benefits to pupils, staff and the wider community.

"Given the current situation with RAAC and the closure of part of the existing school, it couldn’t be more welcome."

Moray's MP also welcomed the news for Forres.

Douglas Ross said: "As a former pupil of the school, it has been sad to see how it has fallen into a state of disrepair. "I know how hard Kathleen Robertson has worked to secure this funding and how much of a priority it has been for the Conservative-led council.

"Every pupil in Forres and across Moray deserve to be learning in buildings that are fit for the 21st century.

"That is why the SNP Government cannot forget about stumping up the funding for a new secondary school in Buckie as well."

Scott Lawrence (Forres, SNP) said: "The last few months have presented a lot of challenges to pupils and staff and they have risen to them admirably. The prospect of a brand new school will mean some light at the end of the tunnel."

"I look forward to seeing how the development of the new school takes shape, providing a modern community facility for everyone in the Forres area."

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