School still using huts 40 years on

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FURIOUS parents at one of the Capital’s most crowded ­primary schools have hit out over the fact their children are being taught in the same decaying huts used to accommodate them 40 years ago.

Mums and dads at South Morningside Primary say it is unacceptable that clapped-out temporary classrooms dating back to the 1970s are still being used and have called on the ­council to remove or replace them urgently.

Ex-pupils and parents, and current primary pupils outside the South Morningside huts. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Ex-pupils and parents, and current primary pupils outside the South Morningside huts. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

They are also angry and worried about the school’s annexe at nearby Cluny church centre, which they say hosts around 50 children, but has no on-site access to hot meal facilities, dedicated medical rooms, road safety signs or traffic calming measures.

South Morningside is one of Edinburgh’s most popular primary schools, with ­teachers forced to squeeze 21 classes into buildings designed for only 14.

As questions have arisen over the council’s management of the schools’ estate in the wake of the ­Liberton High tragedy, parents at South Morningside said it was clear their campus had been “starved” of investment and branded the situation “outrageous”.

Mum and former pupil Eileen Maclean, 49, who has children in P3 and P5, said: “Here we are 40 years later and they still haven’t resolved these issues – if anything, they’re getting worse.”

Parents have outlined a series of complaints regarding school facilities – ranging from temporary classrooms which are stifling in summer but freezing in winter to safety worries over the need to squeeze hundreds of children into a tiny playground.

And they said that classes at the annexe, which is partially open to the public, were prone to constant ­disruption because staff have to accompany ­children to the toilet because, incredibly, the loos they use are also accessible to the public.

Dad Michael Wilson, 44, whose child is in P7, said: “It’s ridiculous – if you have a class of P1s, how many kids do you reckon will want to go to the toilet in the morning? That’s not adequate at all and it’s getting a lot worse.”

Gillian Grigor, 49, who has children in P2 and P4, added: “The south of Edinburgh is very different to how it was when we were growing up but the school has not been adapted – the investment seems to have gone elsewhere and the situation is reaching the point where the school cannot accommodate any more.

“We are supportive of everything the teachers are doing to help but something needs to happen now.”

Councillor Paul Godzik, ­education leader, admitted they have to “address the immediate issue”.

He said he is working with South Morningside, ­Bruntsfield and James Gillespie’s Primary schools to put in place long-term solutions and said he is “hopeful” the “temporary” huts at South Morningside can be replaced with modern classrooms.