Cllr Godzik hails capital investment plans for City schools

Education Convener Councillor Paul Godzik on the Capital Coalition's targeted investment approach for upgrading schools:

"I am delighted that today the Capital Coalition have outlined a targeted capital investment programme of £30m for upgrading our schools over the next five years.

"Everybody knows that local government finances are being squeezed so this pledge is a sign of our determination to improve the quality of our buildings.

"I believe that upgrading and improving our schools should be a priority for the Council over the next few years.  It was clear to me on becoming Convenor for Education, Children & Families last year that the way in which we maintained our buildings was largely reactive.  However, there was a real appetite at a senior level within the Department to change this and so one of the first things I agreed as Convenor was the most extensive conditions survey ever of our estate.

"As such we now have a true picture of what is needed to improve our schools and other buildings.  Of course that won’t happen overnight, nor do we have the funding to make every building perfect (if we did my job would be very easy!).

"What we do have is a plan which will ensure we spend our limited funding wisely and where it is needed most.  With a commitment to get every school to at least condition B within five years.

"The funding will initially look at health and safety improvements and wind and watertight requirements right across the estate, and there is extensive work to be done here. Then work on 15 premises that are rated ‘C’ such as Wester Hailes Education Centre, St John Vianney Primary School, and St Cuthbert’s Primary will have substantial upgrades. These major capital works include roofing, replacement windows improved lighting, ventilation and heating.

"It should be noted that the vast majority of our schools, nearly 92%, are rated either A or B by the Scottish Government.  We have several outstanding new schools, in total over the last 15 years the Council has delivered 12 new secondary schools, 15 new primary schools and 5 new special schools.  We also have plans underway to deliver a new James Gillespie’s, Boroughmuir and Portobello High School High Schools, with funding secured to develop a new St John’s Primary and St Crispin’s Special School.

"In comparison to other local authorities Edinburgh’s school estate is in a very good condition. However I want to see all our schools rated A or B, and I believe that should be the ambition of our Council.  We still have substantial body work to do, we need to investigate how we can provide more revenue funding and that work has now been instigated.  But despite the tight financial constraints we find ourselves in, getting all our schools to at least ‘B’ standard is within reach.

"I believe our targeted investment approach will ensure that future generations of school children will reap the benefits in years to come."

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