A newly built school to serve the primary age children of Tong and the wider district is a ‘high priority’ for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, according to senior education officer Donald Macleod.
But the objective to build a new school is in early pre-planning stages and there is no decision on a site or any other detail on the way forward, he said.
Mr Macleod was speaking to a joint meeting of Tong Primary School and Tong Parent Council held on Tuesday evening (10 May) amidst an atmosphere of concern and rumour about the future of primary education provision in the Tong area.
A report from Tong Parent Council to parents, carers and community members said that Mr Macleod had updated the meeting, starting with an assurance that Tong School is high priority in Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar's plan for future investment in the school estate.
He said that it had been agreed that the current building and site is neither suitable nor sustainable in the long term and a new school will be needed for Tong, but he was keen to stress that absolutely no decisions have been made, other than new educational provision being required.
The parent council reported: “It is a long process and could be up to several years before a new school will reach completion. (Mr Macleod) is keen to gather the views of parents and the community.
“The main thrust of discussion during the meeting was that the parent council welcomed this move, as long as the new school is located within the village itself.”
Mr Macleod also said CnES wanted to gather the views of all parents and community members as the process goes on and said that there will be widespread consultation over the coming months and years.
Parents in the area are in agreement that the current site is no longer suitable, but are described as ‘adamant’ that the school should stay in the village. They are also against any possibility of merger with other schools.