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Secondary School Building (South Lanarkshire Council)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd November 2016.

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Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

8. To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with South Lanarkshire Council regarding the building of secondary schools. (S5O-00372)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

Government officials have had no recent discussions with South Lanarkshire Council regarding the building of secondary schools. I am aware that all 17 of the council’s secondary schools are currently classified as being in good condition. However, through the Government’s schools for the future programme, we are currently replacing three primary schools in South Lanarkshire—Spittal primary, Halfmerke primary and West Mains additional support needs school, and Burnside primary—with the Government providing approximately £11.6 million towards those projects.

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

There has been a significant increase in house building in my constituency over the past 10 years, particularly in the Halfway and Newton area of Cambuslang. Unfortunately, poor planning by South Lanarkshire Council means that there is a dearth of facilities to support that otherwise welcome expansion. Although there is new primary school provision in the area, changes to school catchment areas require pupils in Halfway and Newton to travel considerable distances to attend secondary school. Given the strength of feeling in the community for provision of a new secondary school in Halfway, what support can the Government give to South Lanarkshire Council to progress that initiative?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

The statutory responsibility for planning schools capacity rests with local authorities under the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. Management of the schools estate is, accordingly, part of their responsibilities. The Government has co-operated with South Lanarkshire Council on a number of projects to enhance that capacity, but I recognise the significance of the issues that Clare Haughey raises on behalf of her constituents. I would be happy to have further discussions with her and South Lanarkshire Council on that question to try to do all that we can to address the local issue that she has raised.