Angus and Fife schools hailed in milestone for national education estate strategy

Angus and Fife schools hailed in milestone for national education estate strategy
Facade of The new Ladyloan primary school in Arbroath,
The new Ladyloan primary school in Arbroath,

Education secretary John Swinney will hail attainment improvements in refurbished or replaced schools in a milestone visit to two new Angus primaries.

He will join pupils at Ladyloan and Muirfield primaries in Arbroath for the official opening of the 99th and 100th Schools for the Future later this week, highlighting academic success at other establishments including Fife’s Auchmuty High, which was replaced in a £31 million element of the £1.8billion Schools for the Future programme.

Exterior of Muirfield Primary School.
Muirfield Primary School.

By this summer, 117 schools will be replaced or substantially refurbished through the scheme.

The proportion of pupils educated in schools in good or satisfactory condition has risen from 60.8% in 2007 to 89.6% in 2019.

There have been sharp increases in pupil attainment and attendance in the years since Auchmuty High pupils’ move to their new Glenrothes building in 2013, with S5 and S6 youngsters demonstrating clear performance improvements, said the government.

Ladyloan and Muirfield children occupied their new schools last year after build projects totalling almost £8m.

In Dundee, the programme has included the £28.7 million Baldragon Academy, with the £32.5m Bertha Park High in Perth – the city’s first new secondary in more than 40 years – part of the investment in the district.

Mr Swinney said: “The £1.8 billion 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.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP pictured during the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Business: Primary 1 Tests. in the Scottish Parliament
John Swinney MSP

“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.”

Alan Pithie, head teacher of Auchmuty High School, said:“We have seen a transformational impact on pupils’ achievement and attainment since moving to the new building.

“As pupil perception, ambition and image in the community has improved in recent years, so have enthusiasm and behaviour.

“Senior pupils have recorded their highest exam performances in recent years and absences and exclusions have both shown significant improvement within the new school.”

Mr Swinney was recently forced to defend the Scottish Government’s efforts at improving education but admitted average “was not good enough”.

He was challenged in Holyrood in the wake of the publication of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results which showed standards in science and maths had fallen.

Compared to the rest of the world, Scotland’s results in maths and science among 15 to 16-year-olds were “average”, but in reality had slipped on comparable results in 2016.

He said measures had been put in place to drive up standards across Scotland and in particular to reduce the poverty-related attainment gap.

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