Schools (South Lanarkshire)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 15th June 2016.

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

Through the Scotland’s schools for the future programme, the Scottish Government is undertaking significant investment in Scotland’s school estate. In South Lanarkshire, the Government has awarded funding of up to £11.6 million for the replacement of Spittal primary school, Burnside primary, Halfmerke primary and West Mains additional support needs school.

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

The cabinet secretary will be aware of the calls for a new secondary school in the Halfway area of my constituency. Does he agree that given that 107 schools have been built or refurbished in South Lanarkshire since 2007—more than in any other local authority area—the issue in South Lanarkshire is not caused by a lack of Government investment in schools? Will he raise the issue with South Lanarkshire Council when he next meets it?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

Decisions about the investment that is made in the school estate are fundamentally for local authorities, under the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, which contains the statutory responsibility for individual authorities to plan and manage their school estate in order to deliver education services.

We do, of course, take forward investment programmes—the schools for the future programme is one example—through which the Government makes available resources to encourage the refurbishment of schools. I will consider the points that Clare Haughey has made about the opportunities to deploy such investment in the South Lanarkshire area, particularly in the Halfway area of her constituency.

We attach a significant premium to ensuring that we invest effectively in the school estate, to ensure that young people can be educated in a quality environment. That will remain a commitment of the Government during its term of office.

Photo of Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson Labour

Members across the chamber would welcome all investment in schools. What discussions have the cabinet secretary and ministers had with the City of Edinburgh Council about finding capital investment for the wave 4 schools that the council has identified, including Liberton high school? It is the only high school in my constituency of Edinburgh Southern that, in the past 10 to 20 years, has not received any refurbishment or a new building.

The Presiding Officer:

For guidance, I point out that the question should have been specifically about South Lanarkshire. However, in this case the cabinet secretary is free to answer it.

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

A rigorous assessment process is undertaken on the quality of the fabric in individual schools, which drives judgments about the investment priorities that local authorities take forward, often with the Government’s support.

I will consider the points that Daniel Johnson has raised as the Government formulates its further investment programmes. We have already set out a range of investments that are being made under the schools for the future programme, which involves £1.8 billion-worth of investment and will construct or refurbish 112 schools in Scotland.

We have a major programme of school investment under way, but I am very happy to consider the specific points that Daniel Johnson has raised about the City of Edinburgh Council and Liberton high school.

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government how much it has invested in building or refurbishing schools in South Lanarkshire since 2007. (S5O-00032)