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SNP 'built more schools than previous administration'

There were 607 schools built or refurbished between 2008 and 2015, researchers found.

By STV News

Published 15 Aug 2016.

The SNP Scottish Government has built or refurbished twice as many schools as the previous administration, Holyrood researchers have found.

There were 607 schools built and refurbished between 2008 and 2015, compared with 308 in 1999 and 2007 under the Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition, data obtained by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice) shows.

Scottish Labour 's education spokesman Iain Gray said the SNP were failing to give credit to local authorities.

SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth, a former teacher, said: "As many young people from across Scotland head back to school this week, some reflecting on their recent exam results, it is encouraging to know that many thousands of them will be doing so in new or refurbished schools.

"These figures highlight the importance the SNP has placed on providing both pupils and teachers with the very best learning environment. As a former teacher myself, I know the difference that a modern, accessible and welcoming school building can make to pupils' attainment and to the performance of staff.

"The SNP's manifesto promises to build on the success of our Schools for the Future programme, which has been responsible for these rebuilds and refurbishments. The sustainability and efficiency of our schools is also vitally important - ensuring that our pupils and teachers are able to work in positive and modern buildings, which undoubtedly helps our pupils to learn.

"As the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made clear, education will be the absolute priority of this SNP government and I'm delighted to see more work being done to improve our school estate - to ensure the new or refurbished schools that young people are returning to this week are top of the class."

Labour MSP Mr Gray said: "The SNP are failing to give credit to the vital role of local authorities in delivering new schools in recent years, who are their partners in building schools but now face hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts in the year to come.

"The buildings may now be in place but what is in them is becoming more of a problem - the SNP can't hide from the fact that since they came to power there are 4,000 fewer teachers, attainment is stalling and numeracy levels amongst children from poorer backgrounds are at shocking levels.

"SNP cuts to schools will only make this worse, that's why they should back Labour's plans to use the new tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to stop the cuts and invest in our schools instead."

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