MAJOR plans to replace two primary schools with a new education campus have been boosted by a government funding promise.

The Scottish Government has announced a nationwide £1billion investment programme, with replacements for Neilston Primary and St Thomas’ Primary included.

This announcement comes after East Renfrewshire Council committed £30million to a new leisure and learning campus in Neilston when its budget was revealed in February.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Education Secretary John Swinney launched the funding scheme on Monday. It will see the government contribute between £220m and £275m and work in partnership with local authorities across the country to replace a total of 26 schools.

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East Renfrewshire’s new education campus will be built on the current site of Neilston Primary and Madras Family Centre.

The funding commitment also allows the council to progress plans for land at St Thomas’ Primary.

Councillor Paul O’Kane, chairman of East Renfrewshire’s education committee, said: “We’re really delighted. We can now move ahead with designing the school with parents.

“We can now develop our plans for how we use both sites to give the community a full regeneration.

“We’re looking at plans for the St Thomas’ site and further reports will be coming to council.”

Council leader Tony Buchanan added: “This is fantastic news for East Renfrewshire from the Scottish Government and will see millions invested in a new education campus in Neilston.”

The Scottish Government has also announced that the first projects in this phase could be open by 2022/23.

A further phase of investment will be revealed within 12 months.

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Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur said: “I’m delighted to see Neilston included in the first phase of this new investment programme, which I am sure will be a real boost for pupils, teachers and parents, as well as the wider community.

“The announcement is great news for Neilston and East Renfrewshire and I look forward to this project progressing.”

Ms Sturgeon said providing state-of-the-art buildings such as the new education campus in Neilston can make “a real difference” to the lives of pupils, teachers and parents, as well as the wider community.

She added: “This investment continues our efforts to improve the condition of our entire learning estate, from early years through to schools and colleges.”