School to close amid poor inspection reports

The school's buildings, which are only half full, are situated on the outskirts of Penicuik. Picture: Greg Macvean
The school's buildings, which are only half full, are situated on the outskirts of Penicuik. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A SCHOOL for vulnerable and badly-behaved teenagers is facing closure in a bid to save the city council £1.2 million.

Wellington Special School in Midlothian is being closed because it is now chronically under subscribed with around 23 pupils – less than half its capacity.

However the move could prove controversial, as it will mean some pupils in the future being accommodated in mainstream schools.

The council says the average cost of a year’s ­education to the public purse now hits £65,000 – double the original cost, amid ­dwindling rolls and poor inspection ­reports.

All remaining pupils will be transferred to Gorgie Mills Special School with extra provision set to be created in mainstream schools in the future. It is understood there will be no redundancies with teaching staff transferred to other schools.

It has been estimated only seven boys would register for the start of August 2014.The move to close the school, which accepts pupils aged 13 to 16, comes months after a damning inspection report revealed quality of care, support, leadership and management was “weak”. Concerns have also been raised about city-based pupils’ daily 40-minute journey to Penicuik.

Martin Gemmell, principal educational psychologist for Edinburgh, said it would preferable that pupils were taught in their own community.

“These young people have had such hard lives and face so many challenges but it would be better if someone in a local context was able to support them,” he said. I would prefer it that the pupils were going to school more locally. It’s a long way to go and does involve transport to get out there.” Councillor Paul Godzik, convener for education, children and families, said: “We believe that investing in facilities within Edinburgh will help deliver better educational outcomes for our young ­people.

“Over £1m will be re-
allocated to strengthen support for pupils by creating 12 ­additional places at Gorgie Mills School and providing ­additional resources in secondary schools to meet the needs of pupils.”