I have discussed your e-mail with David, and am pleased to give you our collective response.
The short answer is that there can be no clarity to the questions of cost or timescale until the meeting has been held with Scottish Futures Trust which I referred to at Committee on Monday night. As I indicated, Scottish Futures Trust wrote to all relevant authorities, on the back of the Cabinet Secretary's announcement, seeking an early meeting to discuss all the issues pertaining to the forthcoming project. Scottish Futures Trust would want that meeting to be held no later than the beginning of November.
There will clearly need to be discussions among relevant officers in preparation for the meeting, and then afterwards it would be my intention to bring a report to the Education Committee as soon as possible seeking approval for the project. That Committee report could be in November, but you will understand that I would want an opportunity to confirm that at a later date once all meetings have been held.
I understand fully the desire for as much information as possible and I shall undertake to share that as soon as it is available. You are correct that everyone welcomes this project and we would all wish to see it progress swiftly.
I have responded to him (copying in David Dorward, Chief Executive) in the following terms :
Thanks Jim; I am grateful for your feedback. Clarity from government in early course – hopefully through your meeting with Scottish Futures Trust - on proposed timescale and the extent of funding (whether or not this includes all improvements listed in the Harris Academy Feasibility Study) will be extremely helpful and I am grateful that you will seek to bring forward a report to the Education Committee as soon as possible after meeting with the Trust.
I’d be most grateful if you can advise me when officers of the council are meeting with the Scottish Futures Trust, once this has been arranged. Many thanks.