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New campus hopes as 'slug-infested' school tops funding list

A plan to replace the dilapidated Broadford Primary on Skye has moved a step closer.

Skye: Pest control has not been able to stop slugs reappearing.
Skye: Pest control has not been able to stop slugs reappearing. Google 2019

By Jenness Mitchell and Iain Ramage

A "slug-infested" school - where parents say a third of pupils have been diagnosed with breathing problems - could finally be replaced with a brand new campus.

A plan to replace the dilapidated Broadford Primary on Skye has moved a step closer after Highland Council named it on the local authority's funding wish list for the first time.

At a special meeting on Thursday, the council will finalise the priority of need for its school estate ahead of fresh Scottish Government funding expected later this year.

Broadford is currently sitting at number two on the council's list - subject to the will of councillors at the meeting.

Worried parents previously threatened to pull their kids out of the school following health concerns.

Several of the children have been diagnosed with asthma and believe the damp is making their condition worse.

Concerned: Tansy Grigor-Taylor and son Archie with Broadford Community School Working Group chairman Hamish Fraser.
Concerned: Tansy Grigor-Taylor and son Archie with Broadford Community School Working Group chairman Hamish Fraser. STV

Tansy Grigor-Taylor, whose eight-year-old son Archie was diagnosed with childhood asthma after previously being in good health, told STV News that damp was crawling up the walls.

She stated: "They're still being educated in classrooms where the teachers have to start their day by cleaning the condensation from the window sills.

"It's an inherent problem in the building and no amount of fixing the roof or tidying up a downpipe can solve the problem of a damp building in one of the most exposed school sites in Scotland."

Pest control has not been able to stop slugs reappearing in the classrooms and there is no safe drinking water supply.

The primary also has limited access for wheelchair users because of the number of steps, and the external doors don't lock.

'It's been a long slog to get here but it is amazing to get within touching distance of a new school.'
Kate Forbes MSP

Kate Forbes MSP - who has been leading the charge alongside local parents and councillor John Finlayson to get a new school - said the new development was testament to the relentless work of campaigners.

As well as raising the matter several times with John Swinney, the cabinet secretary for education, Ms Forbes also coordinated a visit from the deputy first minister to the ailing school building last year.

The constituency MSP for Skye said: "This is tremendously good news for Broadford.

"Local councillor John Finlayson, the parent council and I have all been working closely together to drive things forward.

"It's been a long slog to get here but it is amazing to get within touching distance of a new school.

"This is the first time that Broadford has been prioritised by Highland Council which demonstrates how awful the school building is.

"Parents and children have been waiting a long time, but it feels like the hard work of the last few years is finally paying off."

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