New education campus to replace Neilston and St Thomas’ primaries given a boost

Major plans to replace two primary schools with a new education campus have been boosted by a government funding promise.

The Scottish Government has announced a nationwide £1 billion investment programme – and replacements for East Renfrewshire’s Neilston Primary School and St Thomas’ Primary School are included.

This announcement comes after East Renfrewshire Council committed £30m to a new leisure and learning campus in Neilston, when its budget was revealed in February.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Education Secretary John Swinney launched the funding scheme on Monday.

It will see the government contribute between £220 million and £275 million and work in partnership with local authorities across the country, replacing 26 schools.

East Renfrewshire’s new education campus will be built on the current Neilston Primary and Madras Family Centre site. The funding news also allows the council to progress plans for the land at St Thomas’ Primary.

Paul O’Kane, the council’s education committee chairman, said: “We’re really delighted, we can now move ahead with designing the school with parents.

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“We can now develop our plans for how we use both sites to give the community a full regeneration.

“We’re looking at plans for the St Thomas’ site and furtherreports will be coming to council.”

Council leader Tony Buchanan said: “This is fantastic news for East Renfrewshire from the Scottish Government that will see millions invested in a new education campus in Neilston.”

The Scottish Government also announced the first projects in this phase could be open by 2022-23. A further phase of investment will be revealed within 12 months.

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Neilston’s MSP Tom Arthur said: “I’m delighted to see Neilston included in the first phase of this new investment programme, which I am sure will be a real boost for pupils, teachers and parents, as well as the wider community.

“This investment builds on the progress made over the last 10 years, with 928 schools built or substantially refurbished since 2007.

“The announcement is great new for Neilston and East Renfrewshire, and I look forward to this project progressing.”

And Ms Sturgeon added: “Modern, state of the art buildings can make a real difference to the lives of pupils, teachers and parents as well as the wider communities they serve.

“This investment continues our efforts to improve the condition of our entire learning estate, from early years through to schools and colleges.”