Attainment improvements welcomed as 100th Schools for the Future project opens

The 99th and 100th facilities to have been refurbished or replaced through the Scottish Government’s Schools for the Future programme will be officially opened later this week.

Education secretary John Swinney will join Ladyloan and Muirfield primary pupils to hail attainment improvements at schools to have benefitted from the work.

Broader benefits for pupils and communities include:

  • sharp increases in pupil attainment and attendance in the years covering Auchmuty High School pupils’ move to their new building, with S5 and S6 pupils demonstrating clear performance improvements
  • Eastwood High School saw the percentage of S5 pupils achieving five or more highers increase consistently to 40% compared with 17% prior to moving to their new building

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 be replaced or substantially refurbished through the programme.

Sustained investment in school buildings across Scotland has seen the proportion of pupils educated in schools in good or satisfactory condition increase markedly from 60.8% in 2007 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 Scottish Government have collaborated closely through the programme, developing techniques and designs for new schools which form the basis of the Learning Estate Strategy for future school projects.

As he opens Ladyloan and Muirfield primaries, Mr Swinney will say: “The £1.8bn 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.

“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. Our 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.”

Councillor Stephen McCabe, children and young people spokesperson at COSLA, said: “The new and refurbished schools delivered through Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme have been a key plank of local government’s continuing commitment to providing every child with the best education possible.

“The Schools for the Future programme has laid strong foundations for the new Learning Estate Strategy, which will assist councils to not only maintain the condition of the school estate for future generations, but to explore new, innovative ways of working for and with the wider community to deliver learning and other essential services such as library facilities, community education and digital training.”

Stephen Long, associate director of education at the Scottish Futures Trust, said: “Our management of Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme is helping all Scotland’s 32 councils succeed in delivering the very best teaching and learning environments.

“As well as supporting many thousands of construction jobs, the programme is creating and delivering world-class, award-winning learning environments that not only meet future educational needs but are vibrant community assets as well. Now open, Ladyloan and Muirfield Primary Schools will play a vital role in the local community.”

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