Early proposals for a new super school for Tayside have gone on public display – but the timescale for the development has left many parents cold.
Six weeks’ worth of consultations on the future of Dundee’s schools estate has kicked off, with a series of events on the proposed joint 2-18 Community Learning Campus between the City of Discovery, Angus and Perth and Kinross.
Initial plans for the campus went on display at Birkhill Primary School and Harris Academy, with five more sessions scheduled between today and May 9.
Although proposals are at an early stage, it is suggested the campus will accommodate about 1,100 secondary pupils.
However, it is likely to take nine years from planning to completion – a fact that surprised several parents at the first consultation night at Birkhill.
Darren Law of Auchterhouse said his two children will have left school before the new campus opens its doors.
He said: “This exhibition and consultation is fine. There is not a lot of detail at the moment because it is such early days to make any opinion.
“It is good to inform pupils, but I wasn’t anticipating that it would take nine years.”
Mr Law, 45, a surveyor in Dundee, added: “Both my kids will have finished high school by then and it is not going to affect them.
“They are 10 and 11 and go to Auchterhouse Primary.
“They will be going to Monifeith High which takes 40 to 45 minutes to get to.”
Angus councillor Beth Whiteside, whose ward includes Monifieth, said: “I am really enthusiastic about this and keen to see it being built.
“We used to live in Longforgan and moved to Piperdam so my daughter had to choose between Menzieshill and Monifieth High Schools.
“She went to Monifieth, so I know the problems of getting pupils from around here to the school there.
“It can mean sitting on a bus for an hour and a half each day getting through a lot of traffic.
“That’s time that pupils could have been doing other activities like sport or homework.
“It is like an extra school day every week just going to and from the school.
“It has been a long-running issue and it brings problems with extra curricular activities with parents having to rely on others to collect their children.
“There are also issues when the kids make friends at school and want to see them out of school hours.
“Again, it needs parents to drive them about.”
Ms Whiteside added: “I realise it can be an emotional time and I know people are worried about their schools’ futures.
“But some pupils in Longforgan and Perth are travelling up to 19 miles each day and others from this area have similar journeys and it’s just crazy.”
Dundee City Council is also consulting on a potential new primary school for Dundee at the city’s Western Gateway development and potentially merging Braeview Academy and Craigie High into a new secondary on Drumgeith Road.
A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “This informal consultation is open until June 7 and we are looking for as many views as possible.
“We would encourage people to attend the public engagements events or to fill in the online questionnaires.”