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Monday, March 4, 2024

Learning Estate Improvement Plan Phase Three Submission Agreed  

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At a meeting of The Highland Council on Thursday 22 September, Members agreed five schools be nominated for consideration to the Scottish Government – Learning Estate Improvement Plan (LEIP) phase 3 bid, applications will be taken forward in three separate submissions by 31 October 2022.

The phase 3 submission will be presented as follows:

A bid consisting of a bundle of three primary schools; Beauly Primary, Dunvegan Primary and Park Primary, a separate bid for ASL school, St Clement’s School and a third bid for Tornagrain Primary.

The Highland Council Leader, Cllr Raymond Bremner said:

“Learning Estate Improvement Plan bids for five schools for phase 3 of LEIP were agreed today and will be submitted to the Scottish government for consideration next month.

“They are recommended on the basis that on careful analysis and following discussion with the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) best fit the objectives of the LEIP criteria and the Learning Estate Strategy, consequently standing the best chance of success in a highly competitive National bid.

“It is worth noting that if successful, LEIP funding offers a unique opportunity to bid for revenue funding which will support the ongoing operation of new, high-quality, low-energy school buildings over a 25-year period, but this still requires the Council to fully fund the capital cost of the construction of these buildings and all revenue costs after the 25 year Scottish Government – LEIP financial contribution ends.”

Cllr John Finlayson, Chair of Education Committee added:

“The Highland Council has one of the largest school estates in Scotland with over 200 schools throughout the region.

“Despite the current financial constraints the Council is continuing to work hard to make improvements to our education environments that will subsequently reduce our carbon emissions and provide modern learning environments to best meet the needs of the children and young people.

“Today’s decision will hopefully support our ambitions and also support the projects previously identified in the capital programme.”

Housing and Property Committee Chair, Cllr Glynis Sinclair said:

“The Council currently has 10 major capital programme school projects, either new builds or extensions being developed.

“We are not shying away from the current challenges facing the delivery of these projects.

“The economic landscape is very different from when the Council approved all 10 projects back in December 2021 and for that reason, a full review of the capital programme was agreed by Members in June 2022 and a revised capital programme will be submitted to the Council in due course.

“Despite the complexities of the current financial constraints, today’s report highlights the immense work being undertaken to drive progress with all projects to design, pre-planning and build stage.

“I would like to thank the Housing and Property team for all the hard work that has gone into each project stage and for the continuous engagement with stakeholders and members of the communities involved.”

The funding model for LEIP is based on the local authority providing the capital funding for the project, with revenue funding released by the Scottish Government over a 25-year period on evidence of the achievement of the following agreed outcomes.

  • New learning environments are built to a high quality and are well maintained over the long term.
  • Ambitious energy efficiency targets are achieved over the long term and contribute to net-zero commitments.
  • The investment supports digitally enabled learning and advancements in technology.
  • The investment creates new jobs and enables inclusive economic growth.

To date three projects’ secured LEIP funding from the first two phases of LEIP rounds, with a total revenue funding of up to £60M available over the 25 year life of the programme.

  • Tain 3-18 Campus project included in Phase 1 of the LEIP. The contract was awarded earlier this month following the approval of additional capital funding at the Council meeting on 30 June. The total value of the contract, excluding the Council’s internal and direct costs, is approximately £65M. Construction work is due to commence in late September and be complete by December 2024.
  • Broadford Primary School and Nairn Academy new builds are included in Phase 2 of the LEIP, which requires all projects to be open to pupils by December 2025.

The report is available here

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