New Schools

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Education and Lifelong Learning – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 21st June 2007.

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Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour 2:15 pm, 21st June 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will aim to build 250 new schools during this parliamentary session. (S3O-331)

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

We have a clear manifesto commitment to match the school building investment plans that were in place prior to the election. Beyond that, we wish to consider with authorities in the context of the spending review the feasible scale and timescale of the next stages of the school building programme.

Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

We all remember that commitment, which was to match our promise brick for brick. However, from what the minister says, that commitment no longer seems to hold true. Is she aware that many local authorities will look for an announcement from the Administration to tell them how or whether they can progress their plans to refurbish or upgrade many schools throughout the country? Will she say when we can expect an announcement on the detail of the new school building programme and whether a specific target will be set as part of that programme?

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

As we have said, both during the election and since, we intend to match the previous Executive's school building programme brick for brick—we are committed to doing so. As Ken Macintosh knows, local authorities are responsible for the management of their school estate and the decision to refurbish or replace schools lies entirely with them. When local authorities present their proposals, we will look at them in the context of matching the previous Executive's proposals brick for brick.