PUPIL discipline and attainment improved under a £100 million school rebuilding programme, a new study shows.

Research by academics from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) found pupils from East Dunbartonshire were generally much more positive about their new schools, making them more motivated to learn and engage with extracurricular activities.

The study - which tracked the views of secondary school pupils as they moved into new buildings - also found they were less likely to engage in "negative" behaviours such as skipping classes or getting into trouble.

The report concluded: "There was general agreement amongst all student groups that the new school environments were substantially better than the old school environments on all aspects, with the possible exception of the dining facilities.

"The new school environments were also viewed as substantially better than the old school environments by staff. The only area that showed little, if any, improvement was the staff common room."

Started in 2006, the study looked at the views and behaviour of secondary school pupils from East Dunbartonshire as the council embarked on a £100m project to replace seven of its secondary schools with six new campuses.

Led by Dr Eddie Edgerton a reader in psychology at UWS, the study tracked the views of students in S1, S3 and S5 with questions on their motivation, academic self-esteem and school behaviour - as well as their thoughts on the school environment.

Dr Edgerton said: “Our study compared responses before and after the moves and found the improved perceptions of the school environment made a significant difference to pupils’ feelings about school, in turn leading to a healthier approach to learning.

“Pupils in the new schools have a greater likelihood of volunteering and adopting more effective learning strategies and even helping classmates with their studies.

“It appears the improvement in the social spaces, circulation spaces and sports facilities has made the biggest impact, contributing towards higher engagement with school and academic self-esteem."

Dr Edgerton said teachers were had higher levels of job satisfaction in the new buildings, were more secure and felt they had more control over their environment. They also felt more positive coming to work.

He added: “When we initially looked at these figures in 2010 there was still a question whether pupils’ and teachers’ opinions would reverse over time.

"In fact, what we’ve found is a sustained improvement in perceptions and behaviour to this day, suggesting the school building itself is a major factor on encouraging positive behaviour among pupils – and potentially improving exam results.”

Dr Edgerton’s team are now analysing grades from the schools to determine if the move has brought about improved pupil performance. The final results will be published by the end of the year.