INVERKEITHING High will be the first West Fife school to be replaced, according to Fife Council’s joint leader.

Councillor David Alexander has stressed that no decisions have yet been taken but told the Press that in terms of available finance and condition, he “can’t see a situation” where Inverkeithing would not come before Woodmill and St Columba’s in Dunfermline.

“We have the resources to fund Inverkeithing ourselves,” he said.

“Inverkeithing is also the school in the poorest condition.

“There would be no need to wait for other funders to come on board.”

“The Dunfermline project will be more expensive and we don’t have the resources ourselves to fully fund but there are discussions going on with the Scottish Government. We require help from the Scottish Government to fulfil our plans which I am sure will be forthcoming.

“No announcements can be made because of the purdah period for the by-election but further information will be forthcoming. In order to fund Fife Council’s high school building ambitions, the council’s capital resources need to be looked at.

“That work has started, and additional funding has been identified which could be allocated to building replacement high schools but, as with any major investment, this will have to be agreed through the council’s capital plan review process.

“Final decisions will be taken by the education committee which will, no doubt, base decisions on all the facts in front of them at the time.

“The provision of new schools is the responsibility of the local authority. If, and I believe we will, we get support from the Scottish Government, then that is very welcome and a huge bonus.”

Back in 2016, Fife Council set aside £50 million towards the estimated £150m cost of replacing five high schools – Inverkeithing, Woodmill, St Columba’s as well as two in Glenrothes – but it needs the Scottish Government to provide the remaining funding and set out the criteria on which money will be allocated.

This has yet to come to fruition and Fife Council’s head of education and children’s services, Shelagh McLean, said they were continuing work to develop proposals for the longer-term vision for secondary schooling across the Dunfermline and South West Fife area.

“Included within our capital programme is the indication that Inverkeithing, Woodmill and St Columba’s RC high schools would be priorities for investment,” she said.

“As would be expected, we are considering all options, working to ensure that we can achieve as much as possible within the capital resources that might be available.

“Discussions will take place with all stakeholders when any proposals are identified to ensure we get the best possible outcome for the area.