A FIFE councillor has expressed fears that a decision to close the business education department at Queen Anne High has "been long since made" despite consultation just getting under way.

Conservative group education spokesperson Councillor Kathleen Leslie said she had asked questions at meetings, contacted the education department and written to the school's headteacher but had been unable to get any answers.

“This is a department that has had excellent exam results and a large uptake of pupils yet if this proposal goes ahead, there will be National 4 pupils who will not be able to progress to National 5 next year and National 5 pupils who will not have the opportunity to study for a Higher," she said.

"It has been suggested that pupils could go elsewhere. However, we all know that in reality this is not so simple, Dunfermline schools are already heading towards capacity and geography alone makes this all but impossible.”

“I have been made aware that last month it was stated that there would be a large saving associated with the removal of the business education department. Is this what it comes down to? A saving? 

"Cuts to high schools across Fife are hitting hard now and whilst the SNP Government at Holyrood continues to spin the line that education is its number one priority, the reality appears to be quite different.”

Cllr Leslie said she wrote to Shelagh McLean, Fife Council's head of Education and Children's Services, three weeks ago to ask what arrangements would be put in place for affected pupils but said she had received no reply.

“Cutting a whole department from a school is very worrying and Fife Council, if short of funds, needs to request funding from the Scottish Government," she added.

"We keep on hearing about money arriving in the form of PEF but this will not buy permanent teachers and it will not keep the business education department open. Clarification is urgently needed. The young people of Fife deserve far better.”

Phil Black, Fife Council head of education, said high schools offer different course choices every year which vary between schools. 

"While schools are already looking ahead to next year, and consulting with staff, parents and pupils, decisions for 2019-20 have not been made yet," he said.

"Queen Anne High School has a rich curriculum, fully in line with national expectations and there are no plans to change this. The scale of the school enables a wide range of National Qualifications and progression through to Advanced Higher and the school already offers a range of subjects not offered elsewhere.

"Regardless of any decisions made next year, it will continue to be one of the largest provisions in Scotland based on the scale of the school."