Millions of pounds will be spent rebuilding schools across Scotland, as part of the final stage of a scheme to ensure that fewer children are taught in dilapidated classrooms.
The Scottish government has allocated £230 million to replace 19 schools – both primary and secondary – as part of its £1.8 billion Schools for the Future programme.
The scheme has rebuilt or refurbished 112 schools, more than double its original target of 55, the government said.
Since 2007, the government claims that it has helped local authorities to rebuild or improve 607 schools, reducing the number of children educated in “poor” or “bad” buildings by 60 per cent.
Schools for the Future has also created an estimated 11,000 construction jobs and 230 apprenticeships, according to the government.
The project echoes the ambitious Building Schools for the Future project in England, which was axed by former education secretary Michael Gove in 2010 in order to save money. The move caused outcry and left hundreds of schools uncertain over whether they would receive their planned rebuilds and refurbishments.
The English scheme, introduced under Labour, was replaced with the leaner and meaner Priority School Building Programme, which aimed to target the 261 schools deemed most in need of urgent repair.
Following this week’s funding announcement, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This ambitious plan will replace older schools across the country with new, modern buildings that will bring benefits to the whole community.”
Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS teaching union, said the latest round of money was “very welcome”.
He added: “Following many years of underinvestment in Scotland’s school estate, we have seen a substantial and successful programme of school building and refurbishment in recent years.”
There was, however, “much work still to be done to ensure that all pupils and teachers are working in up-to-date, modern buildings that provide a sound environment for learning and teaching”.