Nicola Sturgeon has announced details of the first new schools to be built as part of a £1 billion investment programme.

The First Minister said around 50,000 pupils across Scotland will benefit from the scheme.

It came as her Government was accused of making “dodgy comparisons” after hailing new figures showing an improvement in the state of school buildings.
The Scottish Government said 88.3 per cent of schools were in good or satisfactory condition in April 2019, up from 61.1% in 2007. 

However, its own independent report appeared to warn against making any comparison with previous years.

It said: “In November 2017 new guidance was provided to local authorities on measuring school condition. Condition was recorded using this guidance for the first time in the 2019 School Estates Core Facts Survey. 

“Differences between this and the previous guidance mean that a school’s condition rating may have changed when there has been little or no change to the physical condition itself. Therefore, caution is advised when comparing the 2019 figures with previous years.”

The Government said caution was only advised when making comparisons at a school level, and it was “incorrect” to claim it had been misleading.

Scottish Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray said Ms Sturgeon and her Government had been “caught out making dodgy comparisons against the advice of their own officials”.

Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Beatrice Wishart said the data showed 284 schools had been categorised as in ‘poor’ condition, with an additional four considered to be in ‘bad’ condition.

A total of 928 schools have been built or substantially refurbished since 2007/08, including 81 in the last year. The Scottish Government said it will now pump between £220 million and £275 million into replacing 26 schools, with a further phase of investment to be announced within 12 months.

The new facilities could open as soon as 2022/23, and include a replacement for Woodmill High School in Dunfermline, which was devastated by fire last month. Its new site will take the form of a combined campus with nearby St Columba’s.