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Empty desks are a blot

On the downside, North Lanarkshire has yet to tackle its empty desks. More than one in three secondaries are less than 60 per cent full, against a national average of 16 per cent.

The authority identifies 11,000 surplus places in primary and 9,000 in secondary and has already dealt with some of the difficulties in the Cumbernauld area. "Limited action, however, had been taken in relation to the remaining schools," the inspectors say.

They note that the authority received only half its pound;311 million bid for public private partnership investment. More critically, they highlight the "lack of transparency in charging arrangements" by contractors hired through the council's housing and property services department.

Senior school staff repeatedly complained about poor value on repairs.

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