Education / Grass football pitch area suggested as site for new Brae school

An indicative solution for the project shows a new pitch and school built on the current site. Image: SIC

COUNCILLORS will be asked next week to progress the new Brae school project to a full business case – with more details revealed over a possible location.

The preferred site option for a new build at this moment is where the council-owned grass football pitch is located – behind the current high school.

A report to councillors says the pitch would be lost during construction, but would be reinstated in the area where existing buildings would be demolished.

An outline business case on the Brae school project is due to go in front of the full council on Wednesday.

It highlights that a new build is estimated to cost around £42.5 million.

Last year the Scottish Government confirmed it would fund up to half of the cost, paid as revenue over 25 years.

Councillors are being recommended to approve the outline business case and progress it to a full business case. No final decisions on the new school project will be made on Wednesday.


A report to elected members highlights that the cost of the full business case process could amount to £4.5 million and involve Hub North Scotland. This cost is included within the overall £42.5 million estimate.

It highlights that the condition of the ageing school, which covers three to 18 year olds across nursery, primary and secondary, is “deteriorating both internally and externally”.

Over the last three years, an average of £180,000 a year has been spent maintaining the school.

The primary school building at Brae was built in the 70s and the secondary building followed in the early 1980s.

The design is ageing and “does not provide the flexibility required for every child to achieve their full potential”, councillors will be told.

There are also constraints for providing for pupils with additional support needs, while inside and outside play and learning is now “compromised” – and has now encroached into the car park, the report says.

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The school also has separate heating systems in the two main buildings, which are both ageing and “difficult to control”.

Staff from visiting services currently have to make do with whatever space is available on the day, which may not be private, the report adds.

A recently updated programme of works put the estimated opening date of a Brae Campus at August 2027.

It is suggested it would be designed to accommodate 38 early years children, 127 primary pupils, 193 in the secondary and 30 additional support needs pupils.

The target gross integral floor area is 4,720 square metres. The current combined area of the primary and secondary is nearly 5,800 square metres.

The report to councillors adds: “Negotiation with the Scottish Government will be required in respect of ‘the Shetland uplift’ for the additional costs of building in an island location.”


Five options have been presented including the status quo, refurbishment and a new build, with the latter the preferred option.

This would result in a “fit for purpose, flexible, energy efficient, digitally enabled school with the opportunity for use by visiting services and the wider community”.

In terms of sites, a number featured on a longlist, including at Moorfield and new brownfield sites behind the existing school.

However, an option to build on the site of the existing grass football pitch appears to be the preferred option at this stage – particularly as pupils would not need to be decanted during construction.

An indicative site layout, which would be subject to further design and consultation, shows a new pitch located where the current high school is – with the new build located behind.

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