DEPUTY First Minister John Swinney visited Erskine yesterday to open a state-of-the-art shared school campus.

Mr Swinney, who is also Education Secretary, unveiled a plaque at the campus, which is home to Bargarran Primary and St John Bosco Primary.

The hub also hosts the St John Bosco Early Learning and Childcare Class, as well as a community learning space.

The two-storey building was constructed by Heron Bros as part of the local authority’s £16million investment.

READ MORE: Free sanitary towels just the start in fight against period poverty in Renfrewshire

On the ground floor, all classrooms lead out to a playground area or courtyard for outside learning, while upstairs classes have access to a balcony.

The shared dining hall doubles as an after-school area, while the playground will eventually include a performance space, picnic benches, an eco-growing area, climbing wall, climbing net, all-weather sports pitch and timber amphitheatre.

There is also a sustainable “green roof”, where seeds from native species have been planted. Once the plants are fully grown, a permanent video link to classrooms will be installed to allow pupils to view wildlife in real time.

The Gazette:

Depute First Minister John Swinney was there to unveil the plaque 

St John Bosco is a Catholic school, originally built in 1972, while Bargarran is a non-denominational school which opened a year earlier.

Karen MacKechnie, headteacher at St John Bosco, said: “The opportunity for staff and pupils to be part of the design process with the project management team has resulted in an outstanding building for the children in our local community.

“It’s a building that is truly fit for 21st-century learning.

“At the heart of our school is the Oratory which provides a calm, spiritual area for reflection, prayer and worship.

“The information and communications technology facilities are world-class and our children and staff are buzzing with excitement in their new indoor and outdoor learning environments.”

READ MORE: Much-needed makeover for Johnstone underpass​

Pupils and staff first entered the new campus in April, with Bargarran Primary headteacher Alistair Lyle describing the building as “a wonderful environment for children to learn in and teachers to teach in.” He added: “The informal and formal teaching areas and access to the outdoors in all classrooms means the children can experience a wide range of approaches to learning. Children across the school regularly talk about their excitement about the school’s design and their enthusiasm for learning in the new building.

“The playground and the wide range of play equipment is also another fantastic opportunity to promote the children’s health and wellbeing.”

Mr Swinney said: “We want all of our young people to have access to innovative and inspirational settings like this, which parents, staff and learners can be proud of.

“The young people I have met today are making full use of this wonderful building and I wish them all the best.”