'Hammer blow' as communities across much of Scotland miss out on SNP school building funds

Ten councils have won a share of the money but nine are thought to have lost out

School building projects face uncertainty across much of Scotland in the wake of a long-delayed funding announcement by ministers.

The Scottish Government revealed yesterday that 10 councils would benefit from hundreds of millions of pounds of investment for replacing or refurbishing schools, as part of the third phase of its learning estate investment programme (LEIP).

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However, nine local authorities are thought to have missed out on financial support, potentially leaving some projects in doubt.

The Scotsman understands around 20 schemes across Scotland were unsuccessful.

Councils had been waiting for almost a year for SNP ministers to announce the successful bidders, with the decision repeatedly delayed.

Highland Council was already forced to shelve plans to build four new primary schools in September, due to the delays and rising costs.

There was no money announced on Monday for Highland Council, or several other authorities which are understood to have lodged bids.

They include Aberdeenshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council, Fife Council, Dundee City Council, Renfrewshire Council, East Ayrshire Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council and East Renfrewshire Council.

Ministers opted to offer financial backing to support the replacement of three schools containing the potentially-dangerous reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) – Forres Academy in Moray, Hazlehead Academy in Aberdeen, and Riverside Primary in West Lothian.

Three additional support needs (ASN) schools were also successful – Lochies ASN School in Clackmannanshire, Carrongrange ASN School Extension at Falkirk and Kirkwall ASN Centre in Orkney.

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Other winning bids were for Mull Campus in Argyll and Bute, Lenzie Academy in East Dunbartonshire, Chryston High School extension in North Lanarkshire, and Brae Campus, Shetland.

However, there was no mention of Aberdeenshire Council’s application for new primaries at Stonehaven or Fraserburgh, Aberdeen City’s plans to refurbish the existing Riverbank School, Renfrewshire Council’s replacement of Thorn Primary, or South Lanarkshire’s proposed expansions for Holy Cross High, and St Andrew’s and St Bride’s high schools, as well as a new building at Kear School.

Dundee City Council had made a funding proposal for Western Gateway Primary School, North Lanarkshire asked for help for a new Gartcosh primary school. East Ayrshire Council had hoped for backing to create a new facility at north-west Kilmarnock, plans to refurbish Dumfries Academy have long been on the cards, while East Renfrewshire Council wanted to upgrade Carolside and Cross Arthurlie primary schools.

In Fife, the local authority asked the Scottish Government to support the replacement of two existing secondary schools, Glenwood and Glenrothes High, as well as the extension and refurbishment of Auchmuty High.

Fife Council education spokesperson Cara Hilton said: “We will now have to go back to the drawing board and look afresh at what options we have to improve the school estate given the SNP Government decision to leave Glenrothes and Fife out of their improvement plans.

"This is a real hammer blow for the Glenrothes community who desperately need a new high school.”

Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth highlighted how the funding would deliver continued progress in ASN provision.

"This latest round of investment means that every Scottish local authority which submitted a bid has now received funding for a project in phases 1, 2 or 3 the learning estate investment programme,” she said.



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