Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Joint school campus to replace fire-damaged Woodmill High

Woodmill High School Pic: Morag Kinniburgh
Image caption Woodmill High School was gutted by the fire

A new education campus is to be built to replace the high school in Dunfermline devastated by fire.

The move will see Woodmill High, St Columba's High and Fife College move to a new purpose-built facility.

However, the plan means Woodmilll pupils currently being taught elsewhere in Fife will have to wait until 2024 for a new school building.

The Scottish government estimates the new facility will cost between £150m and £180m.

Scottish ministers said they will invest up to £90m to fund the college portion of the campus and up to half of the cost of the new schools.

The rest of the costs will fall to Fife Council.

St Columba's Roman Catholic High School neighbours the fire-damaged Woodmill High site and Fife College's existing Dunfermline campus is just over a mile away.

The location of the new schools and college building has still to be determined.

New opportunities

Education Secretary John Swinney said the new campus could be ready by the end of 2024.

He said: "Woodmill High School was devastated by the fire and it is clear that Fife Council, Fife College and surrounding schools have made a tremendous effort to find alternative accommodation and minimise disruption to pupils' learning.

"Since the fire 10 days ago, I accelerated discussions with Fife Council and Fife College and I am now very pleased to confirm we support the development of a brand new joint-learning campus.

"Locating the two schools and Fife College on the same site would give pupils easy access to a greater variety of subjects and qualifications."

Image copyright Euans_EP
Image caption Some Woodmill High pupils face up to five years without being in their own school under the timetable outlined by the Scottish government

The Scottish government had already been in discussions with Fife Council on the construction of the joint school and college campus before the fire at Woodmill.

The blaze engulfed the school on 26 August and saw 80 firefighters work through the night to tackle the flames.

A 14-year-old boy has been charged with wilful fire-raising to danger of life following the incident.

A demolition team has started pulling down sections of the burned-out school and pupils have been found places to study in other schools and buildings in the surrounding area.

'Exciting opportunity'

Councillor Fay Sinclair, convener of Fife Council's education committee, said: "This is a really exciting opportunity.

"We have been looking at ways to expand, replace and improve our school buildings for some time and a shared campus will open up so many different learning options and routes for our young people to access the careers they want.

"This announcement gives the Woodmill community reassurance about the long-term plans for their school, as we work through short and medium-term arrangements at this difficult time."

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