A CRUMBLING and outdated Inverkeithing High School desperately needs replacing but once funding is secure can a newer model even be built?

This is the question the Press has been asking Fife Council and Historic Environment Scotland (HES) as the school has a Category B-listed building status - which means it should not be knocked down.

The council has set aside £50 million towards the estimated £150m cost of replacing five high schools – Inverkeithing, St Columba’s and Woodmill, as well as two in Glenrothes.

Councillor Fay Sinclair, education and children’s services committee convener, admitted that Inverkeithing’s listed building status did present the council with “significant challenges”.

She said: “I met with officers last month to discuss options for the high school estate across West Fife, including a replacement Inverkeithing High School.

“The B-listed status of Inverkeithing does present the council with significant challenges around how to go about providing the new building.

“In other projects, including Dunfermline High School, they ‘flip’ the site, meaning the new school is built on the playing fields, then new playing fields are put in when the old building is demolished.

“This means pupils can remain in school until the new building is ready.

“This isn’t possible in Inverkeithing’s case because the old building cannot simply be demolished.”

A paper expected in August at the education and children’s service committee will set out a vision for the school estate across Fife which will include more detail, including options on how best to provide new facilities for Inverkeithing High.

Head of education and children’s services, Shelagh McLean, commented: “Any work to take forward plans for a new school would have to consider the listed status of Inverkeithing HS.

"We would therefore work closely with Historic Environment Scotland to make sure the council is taking the appropriate action.”

Inverkeithing High became a listed building in 2004 because of its special architectural and historic interest.

Built by the then Fife County Council, the building is, according to HES, an interesting and important example of a 1960s school, which tells us much about Scotland’s ambitious building programmes in this period.

A spokesperson for HES said: “We welcome the sensitive re-use of listed buildings and we would be delighted to work with Fife Council about options for the future of the building.

“As the building is listed, this means careful consideration will be given to any proposed changes as part of the planning process.

“We have not yet been approached by Fife Council about the school and we would look forward to working constructively with them.”

The recent shake-up of secondary catchment areas has caused more concern for some parents about the state of Inverkeithing High and its listed building status.

The Press have highlighted these issues since we launched our Action for Schools campaign in January last year. We called on parents, teachers, politicians, councillors, the council and the Scottish Government to act immediately to tackle the problems and ensure our kids continue to receive the best education they possibly can.