Prioritising education to ensure both schools and services for vulnerable children are protected in next year’s budget is a key target for the Capital Coalition.
Despite the severe financial challenges from rising demand for Council services and this year’s Local Government Settlement I’m delighted we have set out a clear strategy for achieving this.
It’s important we focus our investment where it is needed most which is why we are allocating £6.7m to tackle rising school rolls. In the past four years we have delivered an additional 74 modern, high quality class spaces in our primary school estate to ensure our children’s first class education continues.
Building new schools is another key area so there is £12.7m set aside for a new primary school in south Edinburgh. We have already seen the benefits of brand new schools with state-of-the-art campuses at James Gillespie’s and Portobello High Schools opening in the past six months.
We have set aside £16.3m for capital projects this year including the new Boroughmuir High School, replacement of St Crispin’s Special School and a new St John’s RC Primary School. In total over £100m has been invested in Wave 3 schools over the term of the Capital Coalition.
And it’s not just our schools where we are focusing our resources. Just last week I joined excited nursery pupils as work started on their early years centre in Granton – just one of half a dozen new nurseries being funded by the Council this year as part of a £6m investment.
Our exams results improve year on year and the Edinburgh Guarantee has supported 2,127 additional young people into jobs and apprenticeships with over 500 employers large and small.
Additional savings identified in the budget means that £2.9m of pressures within Communities and Families have been addressed so additional revenue can now remain in both fostering and adoption services.
So despite the continued pressures I believe we are sending out a clear message that the Capital Coalition is putting schools and our vulnerable children at the heart of budget planning.
Convener of Education