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Highland To Get £100 Million for
New and Improved Schools
Around 300 crumbling schools in Scotland will be rebuilt or refurbished under plans unveiled by Education Ministers today.
This is the first stage in Scotland's biggest ever school buildings programme – providing investment of over £1 billion.
Making the announcement during a visit to Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline, which is currently being rebuilt as part of a major Public Private Partnership project, Education Minister Cathy Jamieson said: "This £1.15 billion package represents investment on an unprecedented scale and will address the legacy of under-investment in school buildings. Across Scotland, new schools will be built with the latest facilities and old schools will be revamped.
"It will fund around 300 school building projects across Scotland – in addition to the 79 schools already being rebuilt or refurbished by Public Private Partnerships. This more than doubles our planned investment in the school estate from £500 million to £1.15 billion and demonstrates that education is at the heart of the policies of the Scottish Executive.
"We are making this major investment in the fabric of Scotland’s schools to ensure that pupils learn in a modern and bright classroom environment. At present there are still too many school buildings which belong in the 19th rather than the 21st century. Cold, damp classrooms have no place in a modern, learning environment.
"Following implementation of A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century, we are also committed to ensuring that teachers work within a high-quality working environment."
Deputy Education Minister Nicol Stephen said: "This is the first stage in a long-term programme. By the end of this year we will have in place a school estates strategy for the whole of Scotland. Councils will be driving the development of this strategy. Their work will ensure that new investment is targeted at those schools needing the most urgent action.
"Today’s announcement represents a step-change for Scotland’s schools. Teachers, parents and pupils can be in no doubt about this Partnership’s commitment to making a radical difference to the environment in which our children are taught.
"It is important to remember that PPP is just one of a number of funding routes that continue to make a big contribution to the improvement of our schools. That is why today we are also making £26.7 million available for immediate school repairs. Every council in Scotland will benefit from this investment in the School Building Improvement Fund.
"This Executive is now taking real action to tackle the decades of neglect in Scotland’s schools."
Councils were invited last year to bid for a share of Executive revenue funding to support school building capital projects under Public Private Partnerships. Councils were invited to bid in either December 2001 or September 2002. Fifteen councils entered bids in December 2001.
The following list shows the indicative level of PPP investment being supported by the Executive in each council area:
Further bids are expected later this year which will be assessed in a similar way to the December bids. The Executive will make up to £150,000 funding available to councils to assist them in preparing their Outline Business Case.
The list below shows the allocation to councils of £26.7m through the School Buildings Improvement Fund (SBIF) which is a grant for general capital expenditure on school buildings.
A school estate strategy is currently being developed by the Executive in partnership with councils. This will provide a nationwide picture of the condition of school buildings in Scotland and will ensure that priority is given to those buildings in the most urgent need of repair. It will ensure that funding provided to support PPP projects and other funding for school buildings is targeted appropriately.
The Highland Dimension
It is currently reaching the final stages of constructing four new schools under the first Education PPP, which has seen primary schools built at Spean Bridge and Tomatin and secondary schools at Glenurquhart (Drumnadrochit) and Ardnamurchan (Strontian).
Councillor Anderson said: "The award of £100 million is tremendous news and allows us to move forward very positively to promote our policy of creating confident sustainable Highland communities. 80% "level playing field" support from the Executive makes our plans affordable and should result in a subsidy of £183 million over the life of the programme.
"In giving us this financial support, the Scottish Executive has confirmed that we already have a good track record in delivering large strategic projects. This also demonstrates just how good a bid our officials submitted on our behalf and how important it was for us to go to the Executive personally and show how committed we are to our 21st Century Schools’ Improvement Programme.
"It also helps us with our Inverness Highland 2008 European Capital of Culture bid because included are a number of important performance venues and culture and sport developments that will help us to secure a succesful bid.
"Today's success should benefit not only the 24 schools and communities directly but indirectly all schools in Highland because we hope to significantly enhance our maintenance programme by directing our capital from those large projects which will be funded through the PPP initiative onto a higher standard of school maintenance."
The schools which are included in the bid are: -
Badenoch and Strathspey:
Caithness: Bower Primary.
Inverness: Gaelic School, Inverness; Inverness New Primary School, Inshes; Inverness Special Education Needs; Millburn Academy.
Lochaber: Acharacle Primary; Greater Fort William - Special Needs; Lochaline Primary; Kinlochleven Primary; Kinlochleven Secondary; Mallaig Hostel.
Ross and Cromarty: Culbokie Primary; Cullicudden Primary/Newhall Primary replacement; Dingwall Academy; Maryburgh Primary; Newmore Primary; St Clements SEN.
Skye and Lochalsh: Plockton Primary; Portree High School; Uig Primary.
Sutherland: Farr Primary (Bettyhill); Farr High School.