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Scottish education spending

A £1 billion boom in spending on Scottish schools is gaining pace and set to revive construction work in the country’s education sector.

The first batch of schools to receive funding from the £1 billion Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP), which was unveiled last November 2018, have been unveiled.

A total of 26 schools will be replaced and 11 have been announced (see below) with more to be identified in the coming months.

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “We are committed to making even more progress and I have seen myself the urgency with which some schools require updating. The first phase of the £1 billion Learning Estate Investment Programme prioritises schools in need of updating or where there are significant capacity issues.”

The Scottish Government is working in partnership with local authorities across the country and will contribute between £220 million and £275 million of central funding. The Scottish Futures Trust will act as managers on the programme.

More work in the pipeline

Glenigan’s market research shows that other schools and education projects are also coming on stream.

Irish contractor Heron Bros started work this summer on a £17 million primary school at Danderhall (Glenigan Project ID 18112667), while a contractor is due to be named imminently on the £18 million Dargavel Village Primary School at Bishopton on Strathclyde (Glenigan Project ID: 18347903).

Scotland’s universities are also increasingly investing in major projects, such as the University of Strathclyde’s £65 million National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland. Another Irish contractor, Wills Bros, started work on this scheme in August.

Scotland’s universities gathered at a conference in Glasgow on May 8 to discuss their plans and a host of other major schemes are in the pipeline, such as the University of Glasgow’s new School of Engineering (Glenigan Project ID: 18109443).

Scottish education starts to rise

These schemes should help revive spending on education construction work, which fell away last year. Glenigan’s analysis shows that the underlying value of education construction project starts north of the border fell 9% in 2018.

In the first eight months of this year, Scottish education starts are also down 10% but work in the pipeline is booming.

In 2018, the underlying value of education projects gaining detailed planning permission leapt 44%.

The end of a swathe of civil engineering projects depressed confidence in Scotland’s construction industry, but a wider uptick is due.

Glenigan’s economics director Allan Wilén said: “We are cautious about immediate prospects for strong growth but expect some mild improvement this year. As the investment in the education sector grows, this will help confidence in the Scottish construction industry.”

New Learning Estate Investment Programme First Phase

• Aberdeenshire – a new Peterhead Community Campus including replacements for Dales Park Primary School, Meethill Primary School, Peterhead Academy and Anna Ritchie School • East Lothian – a new Wallyford High School and Whitecraig Primary School • East Renfrewshire – replacements for Neilston Primary School and St Thomas’ Primary School • Edinburgh – a new Currie Community High School • Eilean Siar – a new Castlebay Campus to replace Castlebay High School, Castlebay Primary School and Eoligarry Primary School • Fife – a new replacement school for Woodmill and St Columba’s High Schools, part of the development of a new community campus • Highland – a Tain 3-18 campus including replacements for Tain Royal Academy, Knockbreck Primary School, Craighill Primary School and St Duthus School • Midlothian – a replacement for Beeslack Community High School • North Ayrshire – a new Ardrossan Community Learning and Innovation Hub to replace Ardrossan Academy and Winton Primary School • South Ayrshire – a new Maybole Community Campus, to replace Carrick Academy, Cairn Primary School, Gardenrose Primary School and St Cuthbert’s Primary School • West Lothian – new Beatlie Additional Support Needs Campus

Related reading:

Scottish construction to bounce back after poor start

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