A new Forres Academy to go ahead after funding bid approved by Scottish Government

Moray Council has welcomed today’s announcement from the Scottish Government that its bid for investment in Forres Academy has been successful.

The Moray secondary school has been selected for the third phase of funding as part of the £2 billion Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP). The programme is jointly funded by Scottish and Local Government and will aim to see the new build school open to pupils by August 2027.

Moray Council initially put forward bids for both Forres Academy and Buckie High School. While a replacement for Buckie High School hasn’t been successful on this occasion, Moray Council has reassured that it will progress the work surrounding the project.

Moray Council Leader and chair of the Education, Children’s and Leisure Services Committee, Councillor Kathleen Robertson, said: “We’re delighted to have been given the go-ahead to accelerate our improvement plan for Forres Academy as we know the condition of the school has been a source of concern for some time. The discovery of RAAC earlier this year only heightened the need for a replacement.

“Engagement has already begun with with pupils, parents and carers, school staff, communities and partners, with a well-attended drop-in session just last week in Forres Library. This work will continue to develop the learning, teaching and social spaces of the schools of the future, with opportunities throughout the projects for people to inform the design and use of the new facility.

“While it’s disappointing that the funding bid for Buckie High School has not progressed at this stage we’re committed to progressing with the project and will know more about what that looks like in the new year.

“All Moray’s young people should have access to high-quality, up-to-date learning facilities that we can all be proud of, and as a council we are committed to achieving a learning estate which supports excellence and equity for all.”

A Strategic Outline Case setting out preferred sites and infrastructure options has been developed for the Forres Academy project in line with the LEIP programme designed to improve the condition of the school estate by delivering digitally enabled, low-carbon schools and campuses which are inclusive and welcoming places that meet the needs of the whole community.

The LEIP funding model is based on the local authority providing the capital funding for the project, with revenue payments made by the Scottish Government over a 25-year period on evidence of the achievement of the agreed outcomes.

Consultation on the future Forres Academy build will continue over the next 3 months. Future updates and information can be found on the council website here. 

SNP representatives Richard Lochhead MSP and Forres Councillor Scott Lawrence have welcomed the announcement. Richard Lochhead said a new Forres Academy will bring huge benefits to pupils, staff and the wider community.
“Given the current situation with RAAC and the closure of part of the existing school estate, this funding for a new school couldn’t be more welcome.
“The SNP Government has a track record of investing in Moray schools, whether that’s building new schools or refurbishing others, and I’m so pleased that young people in Forres are next to benefit from our investment in the school estate.”
Forres Cllr Scott Lawrence added: “This announcement not only represents a huge amount of work from staff at Moray Council and Forres Academy, but is another huge investment in the town by the Scottish Government.
“The last few months have presented a lot of challenges to pupils and staff at Forres Academy, which have been risen to admirably, and the prospect of a brand new school will mean some light at the end of the tunnel.

“I look forward to seeing how the development of the new school takes shape, providing a modern community facility for everyone in the Forres area.”

Moray MP Douglas Ross and Council leader Kathleen Robertson have “warmly welcomed” funding for a replacement Forres Academy. 

However, the local Conservative representatives say that the SNP Government cannot forget about “stumping up” much needed funding for a replacement secondary school in Buckie as well. 

SNP education secretary Jenny Gilruth has confirmed Moray Council were successful in the latest round of funding from the SNP Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme. 

Kathleen – who also represents the Forres ward and made securing a new Forres Academy one of her election priorities says he is “delighted” the hard work put into the bid by councillors and officials has paid off. 

Douglas – who is a former pupil of Forres Academy – says a replacement school is long overdue and the need for it is “even more urgent” given the recent discovery of dangerous concrete in the current building. 

However, both Kathleen and Douglas say parents, pupils and staff in Buckie High School – a replacement for which has also been earmarked by Conservative-led Moray Council – must also be supported with money from the SNP Government. 

They say that they will continue to make the case for Buckie High School to be included in the next round of funding, so that both Forres and Buckie will finally see new schools in the coming years. 

Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “It is extremely welcome news that funding has been secured for a replacement Forres Academy. 

“As a former pupil of the school, it has been sad to see how it has fallen into a state of disrepair. With the recent discovery of dangerous concrete found in the building, this funding confirmation from the SNP Government is a timely boost. 

“Having worked closely with local Conservative councillor and Moray Council leader Kathleen Robertson, I know how hard she has worked to secure this funding and how much of a priority it has been for the Conservative-led council. 

“Every pupil in Forres and across Moray deserve to be learning in buildings that are fit for the 21st century.”

Forres Councillor and Moray Council leader Kathleen Robertson added: “Being a local ward councillor, I know how important this issue is which is why I was determined to secure this funding from the SNP Government. 

“There is a genuine risk that the current Forres Academy could collapse. Pupils and parents need confidence that a replacement school is on its way and this a major boost for the new Forres Academy project.”

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