New school set to share playground with St Peter’s

Oaklands care home is currently on the proposed site on Canaan Lane. Picture: Jon Savage
Oaklands care home is currently on the proposed site on Canaan Lane. Picture: Jon Savage
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THE first entirely new primary to be built in the Capital for more than 30 years would share a playground with a neighbouring school, under plans being considered by education chiefs.

Land at Deanbank Resource Centre and Oaklands residential care home – both in Canaan Lane – is being earmarked to build the modern 14-class school in south Edinburgh.

It is hoped that the 
£16 million campus will ease pressure on South Morningside, James Gillespie’s and Bruntsfield primaries, where overcrowding has resulted in scores of children being taught off-site and in 
prefabs.

If approved, the new school would be built on a one-hectare plot next to St Peter’s RC Primary.

Education leaders have admitted the proposed site is smaller than it should be under existing legislation but say a possible agreement to share pitches and other facilities with St Peter’s will create sufficient space. Proposals for a permanent South Morningside annexe and bespoke expansion work at the three under-pressure primaries are also on the table but it is understood construction of a brand new school is viewed as “preferable” by city bosses.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “It would be on the adjoining site to St Peter’s – they would be quite literally next door to each other.

“This is a significant step forward.

“This whole issue has been talked about and discussed for the best part of 20 years.

“We’ve put it back on the agenda.”

The new plans would require surrounding catchment areas to be redrawn substantially, with South Morningside and James Gillespie’s each hosting 14 classes. Bruntsfield Primary would become an 18-class school.

Proposals to build a new campus at Deanbank come after we revealed how work was set to begin on converting the resource centre into a temporary annexe for P1-2 pupils at South Morningside.

“We’re looking really hard at a solution and we think we’ve taken a big step forward,” said Cllr Godzik.

“Getting a site and identifying a site has traditionally been a real barrier in progressing with a new school in this area.

“Suitable sites don’t become available very often.

“It’s an area where there’s a great deal of pressure.

“So we’ve found a site – it’s council-owned and it works in terms of location.”

The development has been welcomed by senior education officers.

Gillian Tee, director of the council’s children and families department, said: “We have examined a number of options to ease their accommodation issues and have carried out extensive consultation with the school communities in the South Morningside, Bruntsfield and James Gillespie’s areas to come up with potential solutions.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com