South Scotland

New Dalbeattie and Dumfries school sites officially opened

School opening
Image caption Mr Swinney carried out the official opening of the Dalbeattie campus before heading to Dumfries

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has carried out the official opening of two new school sites in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Dalbeattie Learning Campus and St Joseph's College in Dumfries have been up and running for some time.

Mr Swinney unveiled a plaque in Dalbeattie and carried out a tree planting at the other school.

Both projects received support from the Scottish government's Schools for the Future programme.

The shared campus in Dalbeattie is used by a new Dalbeattie High School, Dalbeattie Primary School and Nursery.

The Dumfries secondary has been the subject of a £24m overhaul.

Image copyright Graham Construction
Image caption The deputy first minister said the new campus was a "great collaboration"

Mr Swinney said the Dalbeattie campus was a "fantastic addition" to education in the region.

"It is a great collaboration between Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Scottish government investing to establish 21st Century learning facilities for young people in this area," he said.

"I think the opportunities to develop that learning between the nursery, the primary school and the high school on the one campus are huge.

"I think it creates a great platform for education in this area."

'Take the credit'

Ahead of the openings, Labour councillor Ronnie Nicholson criticised Mr Swinney's plans to visit the Bridge educational facility during his time in Dumfries.

He accused him of trying to "take the credit" for a project the Scottish government had not funded.

He also claimed Mr Swinney was using the official openings to distract from a failure to support plans for other school improvement proposals in the town.

Dumfriesshire Conservative MSP Oliver Mundell said the visit would "carefully avoid" Dumfries High School and Dumfries Academy which were "desperately in need of investment".

He said Mr Swinney needed to explain why the region was "always at the bottom of the priority list".

'Substantial support'

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "We have provided almost £25m to Dumfries and Galloway Council to implement our Schools for the Future programme, and the deputy first minister was invited by the local authority to open the new schools and visit the Bridge to see first-hand the excellent work that has already taken place.

"The overarching aim of the programme is to replace the worst condition schools across Scotland, and each local authority, including Dumfries and Galloway Council, was asked to put forward its priority schools for investment through successive phases of the programme.

"As such, Dumfries and Galloway Council received substantial financial support towards the Dalbeattie Learning Campus, St Joseph's College and the North West Community Campus."

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