FORMER Queen Anne High pupils have joined the fight to save the school’s business department.

Past students who are now lawyers, accountants and academics credit studying the subject as having a big hand in kick-starting their careers.

They were inspired to rally against a decision that could see the business department scrapped due to budget cuts by Fife Council after reading an article in last week’s Press highlighting the issue.

S5 pupil Nicole Sloanes started a petition last month, angered that her voice wasn’t being heard, and 1,372 have signed the appeal.

Ross Douglas, 30, is a corporate lawyer at the Royal Bank of Scotland. He left Queen Anne in 2006 with a higher in business management and accountancy and went on to study law at Aberdeen.

He told the Press: “When you look at the skills that young people need to succeed in our modern economy and job sector, the idea that business education is the most disposable of those skills is nothing short of madness.

“I’m under no illusion that all government departments, including education, need to find cost savings. But this decision doesn’t strike me as a cost reduction. The removal of an entire department is a cost eradication.

“It is the kind of subject that ignites interest in the outside world. For me, it was the first time I started thinking about my career.

“It was an essential part of setting me up for the business environment.

“Law is a competitive industry and students need the best headstart they can get.

“To close the department in a school the size of Queen Anne I find deeply insulting.

“We are just the same as these students, just a few years ahead, that’s the only difference.”

Students currently studying their National 5 qualifications in business will not be able to continue with Highers if the department is cut.

Concerned pupils like Nicole said they had requested a meeting with the rector but claimed that this had been refused. A consultation is expected in the coming months.

Darren Jubb, 29, an assistant professor in accountancy at Heriot-Watt University, also studied business management and accountancy at school.

He said: “Doing business management was crucial to my career.

“I think this is a bad decision when the world of work is now dominated by big businesses.

“It’s a shame that students are missing out, especially when I look at the careers my peers and I have. It’s a testament to the business department.

“My wife was also a pupil at Queen Anne and is an accountant and we have both said how different our lives would be if we didn’t study business at school.”

Sarra Dalrymple (Wiggins), 30, now lives in Glasgow and works for one of the biggest accountancy firms in the world after studying business at Queen Anne.

She added: “I was horrified when I heard that this might happen. It seems crazy that they want to eradicate the department when business skills are so important in this day and age.

“My peers and I are in high-paid and well-respected jobs and I’m not sure how students are supposed to know what they want to do if they are not able to study a wide range of subjects.

“It gives kids from this area a disadvantage.

“My life would look a lot different if I hadn’t studied business.

“I’m glad that this issue is getting the coverage it needs from the Press.”