South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine is today welcoming the extension of the Scottish Government’s Attainment Fund, as well as highlighting its record on school refurbishments.
Underlining the party’s unwavering commitment to improving education in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today announced that the Attainment fund will be extended to help 57 more schools in another 14 local authority areas – including Kelloholm School in Dumfriesshire.
The fund – launched in February this year – focuses on improving literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing in primary schools in these areas, with the clear objective being to give all primary-school age pupils – regardless of background – the best start in life.
The SNP MSP said:
“The extension of the Attainment Fund is very welcome indeed. Scotland’s children must be given everything they need to fulfil their full potential in life and the Attainment Fund is an important step in the right direction. Since coming to office in 2007 the SNP has worked tirelessly to improve education – pre-school age children now benefit from 600 hours of free childcare, compared to only 412 in 2007. The SNP is committed to making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up – and today’s announcement will help make this a reality.”
Ms McAlpine also highlighted the Scottish Government’s track record on school refurbishments. She said:
“The space in which children and young people learn also has a key role to play in their success at school. This SNP Scottish Government has rebuilt or refurbished 526 schools since 2007 – 198 more schools than were completed over the preceding eight years and is committed to improving the condition of all our schools and ensuring that all our children and young people – including those here in Dumfries and Galloway – have modern schools to go to.”
Responding to Elaine Murray MSP and Cllr Jeff Leaver’s demand for assurances over the future funding for Dumfries Learning Town and Dalbeattie Learning Campus, a Scottish Government spokesperson said:
“The Scottish Government remains committed to assisting Dumfries and Galloway Council with improving its school estate through the Schools for the Future Programme.
“European rules that govern our wider Non Profit Distributing programme – part of our infrastructure building programme – have changed. As a result we are working through a number of complex issues in discussion with the Office of National Statistics and HM Treasury. We fully expect to resolve these issues but there has been some impact on a small number of projects in the interim. We are doing our upmost to ensure that delay is kept to a minimum and projects can move to financial close as soon as possible.
“The Non Profit Distributing programme is maintaining our investment in infrastructure at a time when, over the 2010-11 to 2015-16 period, conventional Capital budgets have been reduced by around a quarter in real terms. It has also successfully delivered two completed projects with 17 in construction, at an estimated capital value of around £1.8 billion.”
The Deputy First Minister updated the Parliament on the Scottish Government’s NPD projects in February: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S4W-24246&ResultsPerPage=10