Scottish schools to benefit from £230m building boost

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image captionNicola Sturgeon visited Queen Margaret Academy, one of the schools to be re-built as part of £230m government investment

The Scottish government has confirmed that £230m will be used to build or refurbish 19 schools.

It represents the final phrase of the £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme.

Ministers said more than 6,500 pupils will benefit from the plans, which should be completed by March 2020.

Confirmation came as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited South Ayrshire's Queen Margaret Academy, one of the schools to be re-built.

The other 18 schools are;

  • Inverurie Academy in Aberdeenshire
  • Hayshead Primary, Muirfield Primary and Ladyloan Primary in Angus
  • Abercromby Primary in Clackmannanshire
  • St Agatha's Primary in East Dunbartonshire
  • East Lothian's Wallyford Primary
  • Queensferry Community High in Edinburgh
  • Mariner Support Service in Polmont
  • Glasgow's Blairdardie Primary and Carntyne Primary
  • Alness Academy in the Highlands
  • Kilmacolm Primary, Inverclyde
  • Lossiemouth High in Moray
  • Cumbernauld Academy and Burnside Primary in Lanarkshire
  • Renfrewshire's St Fergus Primary
  • St Margaret's Primary in Stirling.

Following the announcement, Ms Sturgeon said: "We are working hard to improve educational standards across the country to make sure that every child in Scotland has the ability to achieve their potential.

"Part of that is making sure that children have the right physical environment to learn in. This ambitious plan will replace older schools across the country with new, modern buildings that will bring benefits to the whole community."

The Scottish Liberal Democrats welcomed the new schools announcement but warned "savage cuts" to council budgets would affect education.

'Teachers at breaking point'

Liam McArthur MSP said: "Already we see classroom assistant numbers down, class sizes up and local authorities facing a daily struggle to meet rigid, top-down targets imposed by the Scottish government. The SNP's latest funding cuts will only make matters worse, something pupils, staff and parents across Scotland know only too well."

The Scottish Greens' education spokeswoman Isla O'Reilly said refurbishing schools was commendable but what was really important was what "happens inside our schools".

She added: "Class sizes are the biggest they've been since 2007, additional support needs provision has been cut and many teachers are at breaking point with chronic workloads.

"Scotland can have a better education system but we need a bolder Holyrood that is prepared to invest in smaller class sizes and support for teachers."

Scottish Labour's Iain Gray said that while the investment was welcome for the individual schools, "it did not mask the impact SNP government cuts will have on schools".

He added: "John Swinney's budget will mean cuts of half a billion pounds from local budgets for schools and childcare. That will pull the rug out from under future generations. Scottish Labour would use the new powers coming to Scotland to do things differently.

"We would ask the richest few earning more than £150,000 a year to pay more tax so we can close the gap between the richest and the rest."

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country's largest union for teachers and lecturers, welcomed the school buildings upgrade plan.

Its general secretary Larry Flanagan said: "While there is much work still to be done to ensure that all pupils and teachers are working in up-to-date, modern buildings that provide a sound environment for learning and teaching, it is a positive development that the Scottish government is continuing its investment in school building programmes."

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