VANDALS have caused more than £400,000 worth of damage to schools across East Renfrewshire over the last five years.

The massive repair bill was revealed in new figures released under Freedom of Information legislation.

In the 2018/19 financial year, the cost of vandalism at East Renfrewshire schools was £67,233 but this increased to £82,924 the following year.

There was less damage done during 2020/21, which included Covid lockdowns, as the repair bill fell to £31,902.

However, costs soared to a staggering £172,777 for the 12-month period between April 2021 and March last year.

A further bill of £45,519 was accumulated during 2022/23.

The figures were obtained by the Scottish Conservatives, who have called for  more to be done to deter and punish vandals.

Stephen Kerr, the party's education spokesman, said: “It’s disgraceful that already scarce resources are having to be spent on repairing damage to schools caused by mindless vandals.

“These louts should be ashamed of themselves but the need for such expensive repairs poses the question as to why the government have not ensured our schools are properly safeguarded and protected in the first place.

“We need effective CCTV systems to act as both a deterrent and a means of identifying and punishing offenders."

East Renfrewshire Council described the vandalism as “disappointing."

A spokesperson said: “It can be extremely costly to repair the damage caused.

"Many incidents occur outwith school hours and we work closely with police colleagues, our community wardens and the CCTV control room to tackle any areas of concern.

"When incidents do take place during the school day, appropriate action is taken to address the issue directly with pupils.”

East Renfrewshire has seven secondary schools and 24 primaries.

The figures obtained through the Freedom of Information request show that, across Scotland as a whole, almost £5million has been spent on repairing vandalism at schools since 2018 – although the total is likely to be much higher, as only 22 of the country's 32 councils provided figures.

The Scottish Government has criticised Mr Kerr's call for more CCTV cameras at schools.

A spokesperson said: "We certainly do not need CCTV in our schools watching our children, as the Conservatives appear to be implying."

Spokesperson for Jenny Gilruth, Secretary for Education and Skills of Scotland said: “The Education Secretary is deeply concerned that the Conservative spokesperson for Education has described Scottish school pupils as “louts”. We certainly do not need CCTV in our schools watching our children, as the Conservatives appear to be implying.

“The Education Secretary wants to work with Scotland’s children and young people - she will leave the ridiculous name calling to the Conservatives, whose behaviour in this press release alone evidences why they should be nowhere near making decisions on Scottish education.”