Council say settling £6m insurance claim will allow for flexibility in new school decision


COUNCILLORS are being asked to agree to settle a near £6 million insurance claim for the fire-hit Braeview Academy building, Dundee City Council has said.

The local authority’s policy and resources committee will be told at a meeting on November 16 that ‘settling the claim for a reduced portion of the total rebuilding and business continuity costs make financial and strategic sense in the current circumstances’.

Parts of the school were devastated by a blaze in September of 2018 – pupils returned in December of that year to be taught in portacabins. However, a consultation has been carried out on proposals for a new £60 million merged school to replace both Braeview Academy and Craigie High School – the council said a report on the plans is expected to be considered in early 2021.

The local authority added that settling the insurance claim will not ‘in any way’ affect the resulting decisions that might be considered in light of the consultation. If the build of a new school is given the go-ahead, the council anticipates it will be completed by around August 2025.

Until then, Braeview pupils will remain decanted in the portacabin village until the build is complete. The council said that the costs for the extended decant would be funded beyond December 2020 from the indemnity settlement agreed with the insurers.

Dundee City Council’s children and families convener, councillor Stewart Hunter, said, “Settling the claim now would allow us to remain flexible about solutions for the future of Braeview Academy. We need to determine the best option for the way forward for secondary schooling in the area. While the portacabin village is an excellent facility, it is only meant to be short term. This settlement will help us to maintain the temporary portacabins until a replacement is ready.

“This is a sensible suggestion as we look to make decisions about the years ahead for Braeview. I would also like to praise everyone connected with Braeview Academy for the impressive way that they have dealt with this major incident. Staff and pupils, along with families, have shown tremendous spirit and resilience in the face of very challenging circumstances.”