Kate Forbes MSP has hailed Scotland’s Schools for the Future school building programme for investing over £63m in the Highlands – but questioned why the local authority continues to have the worst school estate in the country.
£50.6m has been invested under the SNP since 2009 in building new Highland schools and £12.5m has been spent refurbishing schools in the area.
The figure means Highland Council has received the second highest amount of all local authorities in Scotland – more than the likes of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow city councils.
But the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch highlighted that despite this significant investment from the Scottish Government, Highland Council has the worst school estate in Scotland and that she has personally visited schools on the Isle of Skye, Lochaber and Dingwall that are in desperate need of improvement.
Kate Forbes MSP said: “The Scottish Government has invested in building and refurbishing schools in every local authority area across the country through Scotland’s £1.8 billion Schools for the Future Programme.
“These figures speak for themselves and show that Highland Council has received one of the highest sums of funding for new school building since the SNP came to power in 2007. A number of new schools have been built, which is brilliant for the pupils and communities that benefit.
“Only two other local councils can boast of receiving similar levels of funding to that received by Highland Council.
“Despite receiving more funding than nearly all other local authorities, Highland Council still has the worst school estate in Scotland.
“The funding recognises the rurality of Highland Council, but most schools have been built in more densely populated areas like Inverness.
“So, whilst it is good news that Highland Council received so much funding through the Schools for the Future programme, it is of particular sadness that this funding has not gone further so that more school buildings could benefit.
“I can think of several schools in my constituency, including Broadford, St Clements and Invergarry who are in dire need of refurbishments and yet have been left until last.
“Supporting Highland pupils, teachers, parents and wider communities with state of the art school buildings, combined with the £170m Attainment Scotland Funding this year, should help ensure that every child in Scotland gets the best possible start in life, no matter what school they go to.”