Phase two of Dumfries Learning Town to be considered

The administration of Dumfries and Galloway Council said this week it remains determined to deliver the second phase of the Dumfries Learning Town project, though this may require changes to the original brief.

The local authority’ss education and learning committee will consider a report on the project next Thursday.

The report will update committee members on updated costs estimates for the phase two brief.

The report will outline the implications of the Scottish Government’s current funding model for new investment in schools with buildings assessed as being standard C and D.

At present, the only school in the phase two brief that has buildings assessed as C/D, and so eligible for Scottish Government funding, is Dumfries High School. Previous reports to committee have consistently highlighted that the council’s ability to progress significant capital investment, such as phase two, would be heavily influenced by the availability of external funding.

Currently, the amount of Scottish Government funding likely to be available to support the second phase is significantly lower than might have been anticipated previously. In addition, the new model requires councils to pay the entire capital costs of eligible schools with the Government contributing half the cost as revenue over a 25-year period.

Councillor Jeff Leaver, chairman of the Education and Learning committee, said: “Continuing budgetary constraints, rising construction costs, and changes to Scottish Government funding criteria mean that pursuing the original phase two brief would result in our Council having to make additional revenue savings of between £9.5m and £10m every year for the next 25 years.

“The Council’s administration is committed to the completion of the Dumfries Learning Town project, and the Committee will be asked to instruct officers to explore ways to rebuild Dumfries High School and refurbish Dumfries Academy and other burgh primary schools, with a potential investment of tens of millions of pounds over the next five years.”

Councillor Ros Surtees, vice chairwoman, added: “Every pupil deserves the best possible facilities throughout their education. The Schools for the Future programme has enabled us to deliver some first-class school buildings in our region, including Dalbeattie Learning Campus, North West Community Campus, and The Bridge, which will be valued facilities for many years. We must now move on to address the problems in other schools in Dumfries town.”

For the full report see: