THE Scottish Government are to replace 26 schools across the country in the first phase of a nationwide £1 billion investment programme.
The Government will contribute funding of between £220 million and £275 million in partnership with local authorities across the country to replace the schools, with a further phase of investment to be announced within 12 months. Scottish Futures Trust will manage the programme on behalf of the Scottish Government.
The announcement comes alongside the release of National Statistics data showing an increase in the proportion of schools in good or satisfactory condition from 61.1% in 2007 to 88.3% in 2019 – with the proportion of pupils educated in these conditions also hitting a record high of 89.9%, with the figure being at 60% in 2007. The Scottish Government’s Scotland’s learning estate strategy has ran during this timeframe, with the premise of it being to provide suitable platforms for young people to reach their potential.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon said, “This additional £1 billion investment will benefit around 50,000 pupils across Scotland, with the first phase set to upgrade and modernise schools across 11 of our local authority areas.
“This investment builds on the progress that we have made over the last 10 years. The National Statistics published today reveal that, even before today’s announcement, Scotland’s school estate has never been in better condition, with a record percentage in good or satisfactory condition. That is a result of sustained investment and we will now build on that.
“Modern, state of the art buildings can make a real difference to the lives of pupils, teachers and parents, as well as the wider communities they serve. This investment continues our efforts to improve the condition of our entire learning estate, from early years through to schools and colleges.”
Education secretary John Swinney added, “Creating and maintaining high quality, fit for purpose educational facilities demonstrates to pupils, teachers, staff and the community how valuable learning is.
“The progress made through Scotland’s Schools for the Future has had a significant impact on the condition of schools across the country – almost 90% of pupils are learning in schools in good or satisfactory condition.
“We are committed to making even more progress and I have seen myself the urgency with which some schools require updating. The first phase of the £1 billion Learning Estate Investment Programme prioritises schools in need of updating or where there are significant capacity issues, as identified by local authorities, to ensure rapid progress where most required.”
Councillor Gail Macgregor commented, “COSLA is delighted today to launch the new Learning Estates Strategy in partnership with the Scottish Government. Over the course of the Strategy, Councils will contribute at least £2 billion to the Programme and the Scottish Government’s contribution of £1 billion is welcomed. The joint investment that Councils will make with the Scottish Government in Scotland’s schools over the course of this Strategy will improve the learning environments of thousands of children and young people across the country.
“Councils welcome the focus on building links across communities and across learning environments including colleges. Supporting our children and young people to access the learning journey that will help them reach their full potential is vitally important to local authorities and I look forward to the exciting opportunities for innovation that lie ahead.”
Kerry Alexander, director of infrastructure finance and programmes at the Scottish Futures Trust, said, “As programme managers we are very much looking forward to working with our public sector partners on the Learning Estate Investment Programme to deliver world-class learning environments to support the future educational needs of learners, as well as providing vibrant community facilities for everyone to enjoy and benefit from.”
The Government say that the first of the new schools could be open between 2022 and 2023.