MORE than £4.6 million will be spent extending three primary schools in Dunfermline due to the housing boom. 

And millions more will be spent on at least six new schools to cope with the rising rolls from new developments in and around the town. 

Dunfermline South councillor Fay Sinclair, the education spokesperson at Fife Council, said: "It's great for the area and lovely to see so many families want to come here to live but it is putting pressure on the infrastructure of our communities and the school estate."

The scale of housebuilding, particularly in the east of Dunfermline, is forcing the council to build more classrooms to find places for all school-age children. 

A four-classroom extension costing £2m, paid for by developers, opened last summer at Carnegie PS but it cannot be extended any further, and children moving into a new estate to be built next to the school won't be taught there. 

Instead, they'll go to Touch PS, which is getting a £1.5m extension. 
Two classes at Duloch PS will be taught in the public library again this coming year due to lack of space while classroom extensions at

Masterton PS (£1.9m) and Milesmark (£1.2m) are also planned. 
In March last year, the council said there would be no new school for the Duloch area despite the "capacity risk" at Masterton. 

The extensions will be funded by developers but the council has come up with an idea to speed up the process. 

Cllr Sinclair explained: "There is a £5m pot in this year's capital budget which will allow us to start the building work now and claim the money back later from the developer. 

"That's how we're funding the extension at Touch. 

"Often with these large estates, you have to wait until so many houses are built before the developer has to pay. 

"This way, we can get started on site much quicker. Hopefully, that flexibility will help, it's not something we've done before."

And that's before the next challenge – funding and building new schools as 12,000 more houses are to be built in Dunfermline and West Fife over the next 20 years. 

The Scottish Government have stated how many homes should be built here and Fife Council have little option but to go ahead and plan as best they can. 

There are two proposed developments and, if they go ahead, there will be 2,100 houses and two primary schools at Broomhall, and 1,400 houses and a primary school between Halbeath and Kingseat. 

There will also be a new primary school at Wellwood as part of I & H Brown's development of 1,100 houses – the only application that has received planning permission. 

And, although no applications have been received, if major sites at Berrylaw (between the town and Crossford) and Swallowdrum, in the Craigluscar area north of Carnock Road, are developed, they will each have one primary school. 

Cllr Sinclair said: "We do need to look at what's happened over the last 10 years or so and learn from it. 

"I've also called for a review of the 'pupil product' as I don't believe it's right for this area. 

"It's the council's calculation of how many children will require school places in any new development and it works out at 3.5 for every 10 houses. 

"But if you look at Duloch, there's way more kids than that." 

She added: "I think they use a Fife-wide average and the officers say it's correct but there are different needs here than, say, St Andrews. 

"It's mostly young families moving in here which is reflected in the type of houses that have been built; three- and four-bedroom homes, and those that are planned in places like Wellwood. 

That's having a big impact on the school estate too."