FIFE Council still can’t confirm when a new replacement for Inverkeithing High School might be ready although they insist they have continued to progress with feasibility work over lockdown to decide where it will go.

Before the pandemic, it was decided that the current Inverkeithing High site on Hillend Road would be ruled out as a possible location for the new £70 million replacement school for 2,000 pupils.

Two options are still on the table, a site north of the A921 at Hillend and the Fleet Grounds in Rosyth. Part of the feasibility work, education chiefs say, includes deciding whether any existing buildings might continue to be used.

Back in March councillors supported a motion calling on the council to preserve the community-use facilities at the Wing when Inverkeithing High closes its doors.

Meanwhile, plans to build replacement high schools for St Columba’s and Woodmill on the Shepherd Offshore in east Dunfermline, alongside Fife College, are also in limbo as the council are still to buy land for their part of the joint learning campus.

However, education bosses are still certain that this new multi-educational site at Halbeath will be ready in 2024.

Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor David Barratt said he remained “hopeful” that a site for Inverkeithing High would be chosen this year but that we needed to “get it right”.

“If it wasn’t for the pandemic, we would likely have selected a site and be getting on with the design for the new Inverkeithing High School and community use facilities,” he said.

“I remain hopeful that site selection will be finalised this year but naturally, I remain anxious that we get it right as the long-term implications cannot be overstated and will be acutely felt by my constituents. With the education committee due to re-start in September, I look forward to closely scrutinising the results of feasibility work.”

Cllr Fay Sinclair, education and children’s services convener, reiterated that work had continued on improving the school estate despite the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

She said: “While the focus during lockdown has rightly been on new ways of learning and teaching from home, developing blended learning contingencies and preparing for a full return of pupils in August, the need for new high school buildings in West Fife hasn’t gone away.

“Stakeholder meetings for the joint learning campus have continued, virtually, throughout this period and work is continuing on both that and the Inverkeithing High School replacement.

"Papers will be brought to committee in due course.”

The council has promised “state-of-the-art” community-use facilities in the new Inverkeithing High but said it won’t include a swimming pool.

The community currently benefits from sports and fitness facilities, including swimming lessons, at The Wing as well as creative arts, guitar lessons, youth clubs and adult evening classes, and plans for what that might look like at a new site are currently being looked at.

Shelagh McLean, head of education with the council, said feasibility work for the new Inverkeithing High was ongoing and includes "determining any requirements there might be for continued use of the existing facilities".

Officers are continuing to look at the two site options, at Hillend and Rosyth, and when the work is completed a paper will come to committee for a decision. She said: "Therefore, we don’t have any confirmed timescales on-site options or opening date as yet."

The joint learning campus in Halbeath would sit on the former Hyundai site, west of the M90 motorway and south of Dunlin Drive. Shepherd Offshore bought 40 hectares of it in 2010.

They have proposals for other parts of the site and expect to get permission for "additional uses" such as a care home, nursery, assisted living apartments, family pub, petrol station, coffee shop, offices, education and housing this summer.

Ms McLean added: “For St Columba’s and Woodmill, we are progressing the masterplanning work, while investigating and negotiating with the landowner, acquisition of land. We are working closely with Fife College, with the intention that the new facilities will be available in 2024."