Dundee council leader John Alexander says ‘there is no reason to be alarmed’ over class sizes

Harris Academy(stock image)
Harris Academy(stock image)

The leader of Dundee City Council has addressed figures which show an additional 400 pupils will be added to the school roll in the city in the next two years.

Figures, published by Scape group, show how Scotland’s squeezed classes will be put under further pressure in the coming years.

According to Scape’s The School Places Challenge 2019 report, 13,600 additional pupils will join the secondary system across Scotland by 2020-21.

The Scottish Government has promised to invest an additional £1 billion in the school estate by 2021 to refurbish and build new schools.

SNP administration leader John Alexander said he understood concerns regarding class sizes in the city, but pointed out the local authority has space for an additional 4,500 pupils across its own estate.

Speaking to Wave FM News, he said: “As a parent myself, I know the concerns parents have in the city.

“The level of investment we have put into the school estate will address some of these concerns.

“In the last two years we have opened eight new schools, both secondary and primary, which were built with additional capacity in mind.

“As we sit right now, we have space for another 4,500 pupils across the school estate in Dundee.

“There is no reason to be alarmed, we try to work out what the needs will be in five years’ time and beyond.

“We’ve invested tens of millions of pounds in new schools in particular in the last few years which has created additional capacity, among other things.

“There is currently a joint consultation regarding the future of the school estate, looking to create a joint school between the councils of Perth, Angus and Dundee because we are wise to the fact there are areas like Liff and Invergowrie where parents won’t want to bus their children halfway across Perth and Kinross or to Monifieth.

“We are working with our colleagues across these other local authorities addressing the issues and anticipating issues which might come up in future.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We will deliver 117 new school projects, benefiting 60,000 pupils, by March 2020 and we will look to build on that progress, investing a further £1 billion to rebuild and refurbish our schools.”