93-year-old visits his old school

P2 pupils at Leith Victoria primary meet 92-year-old George Hackland, who went to the school in 1927, at the unveiling of a brand new teaching block. Picture: Ian Rutherford

P2 pupils at Leith Victoria primary meet 92-year-old George Hackland, who went to the school in 1927, at the unveiling of a brand new teaching block. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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George Hackland, 93, has told of his excitement after visiting Newhaven’s Victoria Primary, his old school, to mark the start of term and the unveiling of its brand new teaching block.

Mr Hackland, who attended Victoria in 1927, said he was delighted to be guest of honour, adding that he was taken aback by the scale of change.

He said: “The new building is very different from when I was a pupil at the school 80 years ago.

“It’s nice and big and open for the children to learn in. It’s a great school who do a lot with the local community.”

Staff said they were proud to be able to welcome Mr Hackland at a key moment in their school’s development.

Headteacher Laura Thomson said: “There’s a real buzz of excitement around the school with the new classrooms opening.

“Staff and pupils have watched them being built over the past few months so to start teaching in them will be great as they will provide a bright and stimulating learning environment.”

Mr Hackland’s visit took place as 23 new classrooms were unveiled at eight primary schools in the latest phase of a bid to reduce overcrowding pressures.

Buildings providing 18 class spaces have been opened at Victoria, St David’s, Craigour Park and Broughton primaries, with a further five created through internal reorganisation at Bruntsfield, Fox Covert, Gylemuir and Stockbridge.

Around 480 new pupil places have been created as a result of work worth £3.8 million, which was carried out by the council and partners Hub South East Scotland and Morrison Construction.

The classrooms have been welcomed by education bosses, who said they were a sign the Capital was winning the battle against overcrowding.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “I’m delighted that for the second year in a row we have successfully delivered much-needed class spaces for our primary school pupils.

“While many local authorities across the United Kingdom struggle to find sustainable solutions to the increase in pupil numbers, the Capital Coalition has delivered 46 new rooms in two years. Dealing with rising rolls is a challenge, but a challenge we are meeting.

“We will continue to listen to parents’ views and work with school communities as we move forward together on our plans for even more new class spaces.”

City chiefs have identified nine more primary schools where additional classrooms may be required for the 2015-16 session to meet increased catchment demand.

They are already starting to plan for delivery of these next August should they be needed.