The Scottish Government today announced which local authority in Scotland would get funding to build a new school under the Community Education PLUS initiative. The South City school in Glasgow will serve the densely populated Southside of Glasgow and will help give the city one of the most complete high-quality schools in the UK

The winner was unveiled by John Swinney, Minister for Education, who said

“The quality of all five final bids was extremely high in this new and exciting education competition and I am delighted to see the winner announced. Glasgow City Council has shown real ambition and vision towards improving conditions for people who choose to encourage their children to read or write in a major commercial area, while also connecting a densely populated area with the world of literacy and numeracy.

“The Scottish Government is committed to encouraging education and we are investing more than £1 billion per annum to encourage people to send their children to school. Education Scotland supports projects which take learning to the next level and this project will certainly do that by encouraging more people to take up the opportunity to learn to read and write.”

Speaking for Edinburgh council, whose Roseburn Academy project did not win the competition, Andrew Burns said,

‘Obviously we are disappointed not to get the funding for a new school in Edinburgh, the fastest growing city in Scotland. However, we are committed to education and will continue to put aside as much of our budget as we can afford to building up a new school with help from other funding schemes. We already have almost an entire primary school and are working on ambitious plans for a sixth form. We expect to have complete 5-18 education in place by 2020 for many Edinburgh residents’.

We don’t fund education like this. We don’t fund our hospitals like this. In fact, we don’t even fund our road network like this. So why are local authorities reduced to competing for scraps among themselves when it comes to funding cycling infrastructure?

Pedalling on Parliament down the Royal Mile
We educate our children as a matter of course. But whether they can ride their bikes safely depends on where they live ©Ros Gasson, Photography Scotland

Obviously we are delighted to see an ambitious scheme like the South West City Way in Glasgow receive funding – but that means four other areas are reduced to scratching around for piecemeal funding for their own schemes – while the other 27 local authorities in Scotland didn’t even get that far (and some of them don’t even get funding from the Community Links scheme because they no longer have the capacity to put in bids or implement schemes to a high enough standard). Active travel is too important to be left to a competition in which there are winners and losers: it has to be something that brings cycling every person in Scotland – wherever they may live.

Not a Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy surprisingly not too Far Away…