Michael McTernan: Time for new Portobello High School

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Children everywhere deserve the best school with the best teachers and facilities that we can provide; to date in Portobello we have let our children down.

Some nine years ago Tony Blair was the Prime Minister, the iPhone wasn’t yet invented yet but the plans for a new high school in Portobello were drawn up. The world has moved on in so many ways, but not one brick has been laid in the building of our high school.

At this point it would be all too easy to start pointing the finger of blame at the villains, real or imaginary, who have played a role in the pantomime that has been the long road to the new Portobello High. To do so would be pointless, it would not progress the building of the new school and this is the time for action, not for raking over the past.

As the debate in the parliament shows, we now have a proposition in front of us that offers hope for the community in Portobello. It provides a plan for a community school, an asset for all, that will have a fantastic design. A scheme that delivers a new Portobello High School, and a new St John’s Primary School. A plan that delivers much-needed sports facilities at the new school and a new park on the site of the old school, delivered in a way specifically designed to deal with the unique circumstances of Portobello without impacting on the law or circumstances anywhere else in Scotland.

In short, a way forward that the vast majority of people in Portobello voted for, while taking into account the views of the minority. The new facilities will be open to the community, the future of the land safeguarded, and a new park created.

We have a fantastic high school community in Portobello: inspirational teachers, committed parents, and incredibly talented pupils. Recent events such as the fabulous Porty does Strictly and the always gorgeous Christmas Concert, showcased the energy and talent that epitomises the school. Whether in sport, the arts, or academic achievement, our young people shine.

Now it’s time to give our children a canvas for their talents. A new school building that allows generations of new Portobello people to flourish.

Last week in parliament we heard that it has been 2596 days since the plans for the new school were agreed, today it is 2602 days. How many more days will pass before the children of Portobello get the school that they deserve?

• Michael McTernan has a daughter in S2 at Portobello High School and another in P6 at Towerbank. He is a member of the PHS Parent Council.