Retreat on six-year status ends Highland deadlock

16th July 1999 at 01:00
DORNOCH ACADEMY, Scotland's other opted-out school, is set to return to Highland Council on August 1 in advance of the legislation, assuming there are no last-minute hitches.

Negotiations are at an advanced stage between the S1-S5 school, the council and the Scottish Executive Office, Jim Stevenson, Highland's head of educational resources, says.

Dornoch, which has 120 pupils, will ironically return to the fold as virtually a six-year school. It was the refusal of the former Highland Region to upgrade it beyond a two-year school, overturning a recommendation from the education committee, which sparked parental anger and led it to opt out.

Mr Stevenson said Highland would not be reconsidering provision in the area, where there are three secondary schools within eight miles. "The council reviewed its education property portfolio last year and has no plans to review it again," he said.

The hybrid position of Fort William primary will also be resolved in the new Bill. The school's application to opt out, backed by a parental ballot, was frozen after Labour came to power in 1997.

But by that time it had established a board of management which meant the authority could not transfer or appoint staff without the board's approval.

This "transitional" phase is expected to continue until the legislation reaches the statute book.

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