THE Scottish Government has confirmed its share of the funding for the new Inverkeithing High School.

A replacement, expected to cost £70 million and accommodate 2,000 pupils, will be built at the Fleet Grounds in Rosyth.

Councillor Craig Walker, convener of the education and children's services sub-committee, said the money would help Fife Council "deliver our aims for the area".

He said: "This funding will be a very welcome addition to the investment we are making in our school estate in Fife.

"We have already begun planning the work needed to expand, replace and improve the secondary school buildings in Dunfermline and West Fife.

"A replacement for Inverkeithing High was always part of our planning and we have already agreed a preferred site for the new school."

Fife Council set aside more than £117m previously for the replacement of Inverkeithing, St Columba’s and Woodmill, as well as improvements at Queen Anne and Dunfermline high schools, but said they would still need “significant investment” from Holyrood to carry out their plans.

Phase two of the Learning Estate Investment Programme, which is managed by the Scottish Futures Trust, was announced recently and will see the construction or refurbishment of 25 new schools and campuses as part of an £800m investment.

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “This next phase builds on our commitment and proven track record in replacing schools in the poorest condition so that more children or young people can be educated in high-quality buildings and ensure equity of provision."

Councillor David Ross, Labour co-leader of Fife Council, said: “Obviously, any money at all is better than none, so this announcement is to be welcomed.

"But it’s worth reminding ourselves that the previous Labour administration put what we thought then was our share of the cost of replacement secondary schools in West Fife into our capital programme back at the start of 2017.

“Since then, the Scottish Government has reduced its share of the funding of new schools from two-thirds to less than half and insists that councils borrow the total cost up front with the Scottish Government paying its share over the next 25 years.

"Just as importantly, it’s taken nearly four years for the Scottish Government to come forward with this next phase of its funding for new schools, during which time costs have risen dramatically."

Cllr Ross added: "Overall, this is good news for future pupils who will benefit from new, modern facilities, but the delay means that several year groups of current pupils have missed out on this opportunity.”

The decision to build the new school in Rosyth, instead of a site north of the A921 at Hillend, was taken by the council last month.

Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing said: “I know there were differing views across the catchment area over where best to site this new school but there was pretty much unanimity that it was needed.

"The new Inverkeithing High will be of great benefit to young people in my constituency and I am delighted that the Scottish Government is providing a further boost to the project.

“Not only will the project improve education in the area but it will be welcome good news to the construction industry which has had some tough times throughout the pandemic. The work will support jobs in the area and provide stability for the sector."

A £180m 'super campus' incorporating St Columba's and Woodmill high schools, along with Fife College, is also being progressed with the bulk of the money coming from phase one of the programme.