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Castlebrae High closure plans ‘moving too fast’

Susan Dodds has fought to save her school. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Susan Dodds has fought to save her school. Picture: Ian Georgeson

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop a council from shutting their school have highlighted concerns that the move could damage the education of pupils.

The Save the Brae group is appealing for Edinburgh councillors to overturn the official recommendation to shut Castlebrae Community High when they vote on it next month.

Their fight has been helped by an Education Scotland report on the council’s plans for closure, which said the local authority had set a “challenging timeline” for the proposal, particularly in relation to transferring pupils to other schools.

The consultation recommends that pupils would be offered a place at Portobello High, although parents could choose elsewhere if places are available. A new secondary school for Craigmillar has been promised by the council by 2020.

Education Scotland’s report said the proposal to close Castlebrae and transfer the pupils to Portobello High “sets out some educational benefits” to children in the area, but added: “The proposal may have a detrimental impact on the education of young people if the council does not address aspects of transition relating to the curriculum”.

Last year, Castlebrae pupil Susan Dodds, wrote to the city’s education leader, Paul Godzik, asking why he was not trying “to help save” the school.

Kev Finlay, chairman of Save the Brae, said: “We want all councillors to vote to keep Castlebrae open and to have that constant threat of closure removed. Add in some resources to rejuvenate the school and watch the pupils flock back.”

The Evening News revealed last September how Castlebrae was facing closure after poor exam results and a falling roll.

Green education spokeswoman Councillor Melanie Main said: “Castlebrae has been a struggling school in some ways, but it also has a unique identity and unique way of working that could be built on.

“Instead, young people are to be transferred to Edinburgh’s largest secondary school in Portobello.”

The consultation report on Castlebrae is to be considered at a full council meeting on March 14.

The council said it had addressed some of the issues raised in the report. A spokeswoman said: “While we understand the concerns about timescales ... we are confident of ensuring a smooth transition for pupils.”

TRINITY PLAN IS GO

AN extension to Trinity Primary School has been approved despite being shelved by city chiefs earlier this month.

The Newhaven Road school will have four new classrooms, toilets and storage space ready for use by August.

The move comes weeks after councillors on the development management sub-committee decided to stall the double-storey extension amid demands for a south-facing window to guarantee extra sunlight in the building.

They had also asked for skylights to be considered in the designs.

New classrooms for Wardie and Granton primary schools were also recently approved despite heritage watchdog the Cockburn Association criticising the designs.

 

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