Scottish Futures Trust behind plans for 35 new schools

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Plans for £300 million investment from the Scottish Government to deliver 35 new schools is going ahead.

The first tranche of the £1.25 billion Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme will see every local authority benefit….


Plans for £300 million investment from the Scottish Government to deliver 35 new schools is going ahead.

The first tranche of the £1.25 billion Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme will see every local authority benefit.

Funding will be made available for 14 secondary schools, 20 primary schools and one special school, with the Scottish Futures Trust working in partnership with the councils to deliver the new projects.

Keith Brown, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, said:
“Scotland’s Schools for the Future represents much needed Government investment – over £300m through this first tranche – which will benefit pupils, teachers, families and communities the length and breadth of Scotland.

“We have already lifted over 110,000 pupils from schools in poor condition, reversing the trend of under-investment and neglect in Scotland’s school estate. Today’s announcement will see a further 18,000 pupils and over 1,300 teachers move to fit-for-purpose, modern learning facilities that meets the needs of education in the 21st Century.

“The timescales agreed for the first tranche set out a way ahead that is affordable and realistic for both the Scottish Government and the councils, given the current economic climate. Of course, through councils own resources, they may be able to start procurement, design and – in some cases – building prior to Government funding coming on stream.

“Despite the prospect of a reduced budget from Westminster, our £1.25 billion school building programme demonstrates our overwhelming commitment to our young people and to Scotland’s communities. This investment will boost the local economy across the country, creating and maintaining employment in the years ahead.”

Barry White, Chief Executive, Scottish Futures Trust, said:
“Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) is working closely with councils to deliver Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme, which will build high quality, well designed and sustainable schools while ensuring best value for the taxpayer.

“Because of the huge scale of Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme, SFT will be able to make savings which will bring real benefits to taxpayers for many years to come.”

Building work on the first projects will commence in 2010. It is expected that the first primary school will be completed in 2011, with the first secondary school completed in 2013.

The Scottish Government is funding the construction of secondary schools on a 67/33 basis with local authorities, while primary school projects are on a 50/50 basis, on like for like facilities. In total, the Scottish Government will contribute a £800 million share of the £1.25 billion provided through Scotland’s Schools for the Future.

The first tranche investment from the Scottish Government will be over £300 million – subject to inflationary increases based on when funding comes on-stream.

Labour have continually criticised the trust with their finance spokesman Andy Kerr once describing it as being “broken before it even starts”.

More recently the Labour deputy leader at Holyrood Johann Lamont said the SFT was “utterly discredited” and added that the “great focus on capital spending has crashed, leaving jobs and apprenticeships uncertain for the future.”

The Scottish Futures Trust is the SNP’s replacement for PFI, which was the previous Labour administration’s favoured mechanism for funding capital projects.  PFI was heavily criticised by academics and trade Unions due to the excessive profits paid to private companies and the debt burden placed on future generations.