Strangely in front of the Herald paywall, former Blairite minister for education, Brian Wilson has the effing gall to write:
Back in 1997, when I became Scottish Education Minister, pre-devolution, one of the most urgent challenges we faced was the dire condition of the school estate. The backlog was horrendous and if we had relied on traditional means of funding through council budgets, it would have stretched into infinity. Some would still be waiting.
To meet this challenge, we adopted a version of Public Private Partnership which took the school building programme off balance sheet, drew in private capital and transferred maintenance to the consortia which entered into these deals. With remarkable speed, the fabric of Scotland’s schools began to be transformed.https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/22312331.brian-wilson-25-year-journey-improve-state-scotlands-schools/
1997!!?? 1997!!?? Ten years later when the SNP took over, only 61% of Scottish schools were in good or satisfactory condition. By 2021 it was 90%. See this:
Schools buildings across Scotland are in their best condition since recorded figures began.
According to new statistics 90% of schools were in good or satisfactory condition in April 2021, up from 61% in April 2007. This improvement has seen the percentage of pupils taught in good or satisfactory schools increase from 61% to 92% over the same period.
This is accompanied by a 77% fall in the number of pupils educated in schools in poor or bad condition. 1,000 schools have also been or substantially refurbished during the last 14 years (2007-08 to 2020-21).https://www.gov.scot/news/modernising-school-buildings/
PPP contracts? Where the local authority building inspectors were taken out of the loop and the contractors were trusted to do their own quality checks? With this kind of result:
A report into safety failures that forced 17 Edinburgh schools to close has highlighted a lack of proper scrutiny of the construction work.
The independent report has criticised the council and the partnership which managed the building contracts, as well as the construction company.
City of Edinburgh Council said lessons would be learned from the report.
Nine tonnes of masonry fell at Oxgangs Primary School in January 2016 during a storm.
Ten primaries, five secondaries and two additional support needs schools were shut because of concerns over the standard of construction in the city.
About 7,600 pupils were affected by the closures.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-38907714
Why did this happen?
The construction firm on the Edinburgh Schoolshttps://jubileedebt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/The-UKs-PPPs-disaster_Final-version_02.17.pdf
Partnership – Miller Construction – was allowed to
“self-certify” that buildings met local authority building
safety standards, without building inspectors visiting the
site to observe the work. In their haste to complete the
project and minimise costs, builders forgot crucial wall
ties needed for the building’s structural integrity. After
the building collapsed, authorities carried out urgent
safety inspections across Edinburgh, resulting in 17 PPP
schools being closed to students due to structural faults
identified by inspectors.
Who was the minister responsible for contracts that did this? Brian Wilson.