Below is a briefing I received on Trinity Academy from Council Officers.
Why are the schools aligned to the Wave 4 Schools Programme in the Capital Investment Programme report to Committee on 8 February 2018 not limited to those for which initial feasibility studies were carried out in relation to refurbishment or replacement?
The terms “Wave 3” and “Wave 4” are generic and applied by the Council to the significant investment programmes still required in the school estate after the PPP1 and PPP2 Programmes. These are not terms used across Scotland.
A report to full Council in August 2015 identified 4 schools (Balerno High School, Liberton High School, Trinity Academy, Wester Hailes Education Centre) from 6 (the other two schools being Currie High School and Leith Academy) for which feasibility studies would be progressed to assess options for refurbishment or replacement of the schools if funding became available. At this time feasibility studies were not taken forward for Currie High School or Leith Academy as it was felt the other schools were higher priority.
The feasibility studies are complete and the Trinity study was expanded to include an assessment of the possibility for developing new sports facilities at Bangholm. There has not been any prioritisation carried out in terms of these four schools and no funding has been identified to date for any investment.
Since the original committee decision and as a result of new information about the structural condition of Currie High School it was agreed at Education, Children and Families Committee in August 2017 that the strategic review of the school estate in the west and south west of Edinburgh would consider all the infrastructure requirements in these areas including Balerno, WHEC, Currie and the proposed new West Edinburgh High School. The new West Edinburgh High School is proposed as a long term requirement in the Local Development Plan Action Programme aligned to the expected population growth of the city. The actual requirements in west and south west Edinburgh will not be known until the current informal consultation and any necessary statutory consultations are completed as part of the ongoing strategic review.
Why is the new West Edinburgh School included – shouldn’t this be funded through Development Contributions?
Developer contributions will be received for the new West Edinburgh School but these will not be sufficient to entirely fund a new high school. Due to our statutory education obligations this school will be required. As it cannot be fully funded by developers it is part of the Wave 4 programme.
What it the latest situation with opportunities for government funding towards replacement and/or refurbishment of Trinity Academy?
The report to Finance and Resources Committee on 8 February identifies (in Appendix 2) investment in Trinity Academy as an unfunded priority within the Wave 4 Schools Programme. One of the main sources of funding for strategic investment in the school estate is the Scottish Government and while we anticipate another round of Scottish Government funding will be provided at present there has been no announcement of any new funding programme. To ensure we can respond to any requests for funding submissions we are progressing with the ongoing feasibility studies and strategic review consultations. In appendix 4 of the report, a recommendation is made for £25m to be allocated in the Capital Investment Programme for 2018/19 to 2022/23. This could be used as match funding for any future Scottish Government funding programme. The report also recommends that the proposed Capital Investment Programme is remitted for consideration to the Council budget meeting on 22 February 2018. The Scottish Government have indicated they want to work strategically with local authorities in relation to future investment in the school estate. There may well therefore be an opportunity for the Council to secure investment for different reasons including refurbishment and replacement projects such as Trinity or new schools partly required to meet the growth of the city such as the proposed new West Edinburgh High School.
There has been no prioritisation carried out in relation to all of the strategic investment requirements and Trinity Academy would be part of any prioritisation process.
How will any funding be distributed? Will a prioritisation process be carried out with projects being allocated funds in terms of need or would funds be shared among the projects on the list? Will Trinity’s share of any funding for Wave 4 be smaller if it is to be divided between 6 schools rather than 4?
As the criteria of any government funding programme is not yet know it is not possible to confirm exactly how funding would be distributed. However, it would be fair to assume that some form of prioritisation process will require to be completed as part of the process of submitting any applications for funding. The starting point for any prioritisation exercise would be the criteria outlined in appendix 3 of the Capital Investment Programme report.