Pupils have "no dignity" at a rundown Highland school for children with learning disabilities that will not be rebuilt in the next five years at a cost of £13million as planned.

Highland Council, run jointly by the SNP and Independents, has confirmed that 10 school projects will be delayed as it negotiates a £127million budget black hole over the next four years.

Councillors in wards where schools were due to be built were visibly upset during a meeting yesterday to discuss a downscaled capital funding programme that was passed by members.

One said the sports facilities of a high school in her ward amounted to "little more than a ploughed field" while there was no space for science and 19 temporary classrooms.

Pupils at St Clement's in Dingwall, for children with special educational needs, were said to be learning in buildings that leak with "unreliable heating, no disabled access in part of the school, no dedicated dining space and no medical room".

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Margaret Paterson, independent councillor for Dingwall and Seaforth, said of St Clement's: "It is our duty to make their lives happier and we should care about the condition of the school.

"It is a disgrace and I put out a plea to all to visit the school yourselves.

"The children have no dignity in the school. It is long past repairing. We desperately need a new school now."

Green councillor Chris Balance, who represents the Loch Ness area, said pupils from St Charleston Academy had described their school with the following words: "Mouldy, depressing, sad, hate. Holes in the room of the science class with mushrooms growing out of them. 

"And for me the worst of all: 'The buildings are crumbling but the teachers are kind and care deeply.'"

Parks Primary in Invergordon, which was destroyed in a fire, will also not be rebuilt in the next five years. Ward councillor Molly Nolan said the cuts would be "catastrophic" for the community, which also includes St Clement's.

She said: "It's not fair that children there will be shouldering such a large proportion of these cuts," she said.

Around 200 schools in the Highlands are said to be in need of major repairs.

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Council leader Raymond Bremner it was "utterly regrettable" that it could not immediately proceed with the rebuild programme.

The local authority cited rising interest rates, high levels of legacy debt, project costs increasing, uncertainty over Scottish Government funding and repairs due to the use of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac).

Derek Louden, SNP councillor for Tain and Easter Ross, said he wanted to personally apologise to communities where "expectations had been raised."

He said some of the schools were built 50 years ago "at a time when the oil and gas industry was taking off".

The council said it could proceed with plans to rebuild one primary, Tornagrain, because around £18million will be funded by developers towards the £22million cost.

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Councillor Alasdair Christie Liberal Democrats said it was "one of the saddest and most depressing reports" that he had seen.

He said: "This failure to be able to deliver for communities, for pupils, for teachers is beyond words. I usually don't need to write speeches, on this one I'm struggling because it's so devastating."

He said he could not approve the plan to "shred" money for St Clement's, Park Primary, Dunvegan, Culloden Academy and Charleston Academy.

He said: "I'm not prepared to throw away the money that has been allocated for these schools. Whose to say that we don't find other mechanisms to build a school?

"Today is the day to stand in solidarity with those communities."

Councillor Trish Robertson, Liberal Democrats for Culloden and Ardersier, said: "Culloden Academy presently has 19 temporary classrooms and there's still not enough space for science and home economics.

"They don't have the sports facilities that many of the other schools have. In fact they have what amounts to little more than a ploughed field.

"Where is getting it right for every child? We are failing our children."

Councillor Bremner said the council remained committed to rebuilding schools but said: "We have to be honest. These schools can only be rebuilt when we have the money to do so.

"We don't expect that to move in the immediate future but as soon as it does we will move to meet your expectations.

"I'm very aware that this report will be hugely disappointing to many communities.

"As soon as we can afford to build new schools, believe me we will.

"We have looked at what we can do in the meantime to support the maintenance and repair of schools," he added.