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Councils get out the begging bowl

EDUCATION authorities have launched a pre-session demand for more investment in schools.

Calls by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities' spokesmen on education and finance come as the Executive decides how to allocate money made available in the Chancellor's Comprehensive Spending Review, and calculate what should be put aside to implement the McCrone report on teachers' pay and conditions.

Danny McCafferty, education spokesman, said this week that 750,000 pupils would return to "schools that are barely fit for the purpose. Councils have ensured that they are wind and watertight, and comply with health and safety legislation - but strict spending regimes have meant the bare minimum."

Mr McCafferty added hat under the Executive's present spending regime it could take up to 30 years to deal with the backlog in repairs and maintenance. A submission in May by Cosla and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland put the cost at pound;1.3 billion.

Craig Roberton, the convention's finance spokesman, said that other pressures would add to the bill. Cosla's wish list for the next three years included investment in information and communications technology, school security costs and making schools more accessible for children with special needs.

Mr Roberton said: "We will also have to bear in mind the implications for the education service of the social inclusion agenda, drugs education - the list goes on."

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