Treasury ministers ordered a "rephasing" of the extensive school building programme to take the heat out of the economy, driven forward by the construction industry where wages were said to be spiralling out of control.
Some pound;44 million of capital spending in Scotland was targeted and the Treasury sought a delay of several months. Officials advised that this should be sold as relieving the overload on the building industry. But councils and the Scottish Education Department wanted exemptions.
With the North Sea oil boom in its early stages, it was argued, an extension to Peterhead Academy would bring economic benefits. A similar argument was deployed at the new Nairn Academy because of new house building triggered by rig work at nearby Ardersier.