Education Secretary John Swinney MSP hailed attainment improvements in refurbished or replaced schools when he joined Ladyloan and Muirfield primary pupils to open Scotland's 99th and 100th Schools for the Future last week.
Pupils across North Ayrshire have also benefitted from the programme as North Ayrshire Council was allocated £44.1 million for the construction of Garnock Campus, opened in June 2017 and Largs Campus, opened in March 2018.
Amongst 11 projects selected for the first phase of funding as part of the £1 billion Learning Estate Investment Programme, announced in September 2019, the SNP Government committed to provide funding to a new Ardrossan Community Learning and Innovation Hub to replace Ardrossan Academy and Winton Primary School.
A total of 842 jobs have been supported by over £560 million of work awarded to small and medium enterprises working on projects as part of the £1.8 billion Schools for the Future programme. By summer 2020, 117 schools will have been replaced or substantially refurbished through the programme.
Sustained investment in school buildings across Scotland has seen the proportion of pupils educated at schools in good or satisfactory condition increase markedly from 60.8% in 2007 when the SNP came into office to 89.6% in 2019. A total of 928 schools have been built or substantially refurbished in that time.
Local authorities, the building sector and the SNP Government have collaborated closely throughout the programme, developing techniques and designs for new schools which form the basis of the Learning Estate Strategy for future school projects.
Mr Swinney said:
“The £1.8 billion Schools for the Future Programme brought together pupils, teachers, staff and communities who told us what they wanted from their schools. Close working between government, local authorities and construction experts has delivered that with school replacement or refurbishment projects in all 32 local authority areas.
“The programme has output not only high quality school buildings that enhance pupils’ learning experience, it has produced a concerted and collaborative blueprint for better schools that give generations to come the best possible start in life.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“By bringing together expertise from the building sector with local authorities and the Scottish Futures Trust through the Education Buildings Scotland conference, we have cemented best practice for school projects across the country. The SNP Government's Learning Estate Strategy takes what we have learnt from more than a decade of school and college projects and lays the path towards our vision of schools being the heart of their communities.”