The Education Minister has revealed that £3.3 million has been secured for the briefing and design development of Castle Rushen High School.

Julie Edge confirmed the news during Tuesday’s Tynwald sitting while being questioned on the matter by Speaker of the House, Juan Watterson.

The money will fund a plan to replace the current southern school buildings, a long-running project which has already received £100,000 for studies and briefings.

Mr Watterson said: ‘This will be at least the third design of Castle Rushen High School and this will be the third design that is put together without any input from either the Department for Enterprise, the senior leadership of the school, parents or the local members of Tynwald. Does she think this is an acceptable way forward for a plan of this magnitude?’

Ms Edge said that her department went out to look strategiacally at the whole site.

She said: ‘We went out to do a scoping of the whole site to make sure that we can come up with a strategic approach in the south for education for the future.

Criticism was levelled at the length of time that the project has taken as well as a lack of transparency of the process.

Ms Edge said that her department will be hosting a quarterly capitals meeting with the major projects unit on October 23 to take the matter forward.

She said: ‘I would expect at the outset of that meeting we get a project plan and timescale.’

Ms Edge said that the aim is to ensure that it is a building that has capacity and is fit for purpose for the next 50 years. She added: ‘Education is changing and it changes rapidly, so we will come forward with the appropriate design for that.’

According to Ms Edge, AQA is considering moving to an online qualification exam system, which she said would involve structural changes to the building to ensure it is flexible and agile.