Edinburgh to build nine new schools as population booms

The council has plans for eight new primary schools. File picture: Julie Bull
The council has plans for eight new primary schools. File picture: Julie Bull
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PLANS for nine new schools have been unveiled as the city prepares to cope with the impact of thousands of extra homes.

Government ministers want 32,000 houses to be built by 2024 – paving the way for a construction bonanza set to transform the Capital’s boundaries.

Blueprints show plans for eight new primary schools in Castlebrae, Granton, Leith, Broomhills, Gilmerton, Queensferry, Maybury and at the International Business Gateway development site, with a secondary school proposed for west Edinburgh.

It has also emerged that the rush of incoming families swelling the city’s population in future years could mean around 30 schools will have to accommodate extra pupils.

Estimates put the overall cost of the changes at more than £239 million, although it is thought most of the cash will come from private developers.

We revealed on Thursday that James Gillespie’s and Boroughmuir high schools could be over-capacity by 540 pupils within a decade due to soaring school rolls – despite both getting brand new facilities worth almost £80m. Council leaders admitted the scale of development would have a “very significant impact on schools”.

Jason Rust, Edinburgh’s Tory education spokesman, said it was crucial housebuilders were held to their obligations when it came to funding local schools in return for planning consent.

He said: “It’s really vital that we get a handle on new-builds, and in particular that community benefits are implemented from planning decisions.

“There’s a better understanding of the situation now, but it’s not been helped by the fact we have had the delay with the local development plan.

“It’s good that we now have this information and it’s something that can be looked at.”

The local development plan, the council’s city-wide planning blueprint, is expected to be finalised by the Scottish Government at the end of May following a series of hold-ups.

The document was signed off by councillors last year amid huge controversy but is still undergoing intense scrutiny.

However, a report set to go before city officials next week insists it is “now necessary” to push ahead with changes to the Capital’s education sector “as soon as possible” – to ensure children who move to the area can be accommodated.

Councillor Paul Godzik, the city’s education leader, said: “There is potentially a very significant impact on schools given the proposed new housing sites outlined in the Local Development Plan.

“As such the council will work closely with developers to ensure that any increased capacity or new schools are delivered on time, as we have done successfully in Kirkliston.

“These plans are currently with the Scottish Government’s planning reporter so they are subject to change, but it’s important to start this process now so everyone is aware of the potential implications.

“We also fully recognise the need for informal consultation with communities before we commence the statutory process, and so officers will be seeking to meet with local school communities to start that discussion in the very near future.”

He added: “The partnership model involving the council, the developers and the local community which worked so well in Kirkliston is what we would hope to replicate in the other development zones.”

What it all means

CASTLEBRAE

• Castleview Primary – four additional classes and extension to dining hall

• Brunstane LDP site – new 11-class primary and nursery

• Newcraighall Primary – one additional class

• Castlebrae High – increase capacity for 264 extra pupils

DRUMMOND

• Three additional classes in zone primaries or neighbouring primaries (with catchment review)

• Drummond High – increase capacity for 44 extra pupils

FIRRHILL

• Firrhill High or St Augustine’s RC High – increase capacity for seven extra pupils

GRANTON & N CENTRAL

• Granton Waterfront – new 14-class primary and nursery

• One additional class in zone primaries or neighbouring primaries (with associated catchment review)

• Two additional classes in zone RC primaries (with catchment review if required)

• Broughton, Craigroyston and St Augustine’s RC highs – increase capacity for 231 extra pupils

LEITH & TRINITY

• Leith Waterfront – new 14-class primary

• Four additional classes in zone primaries or neighbouring primaries (with catchment review)

• Three additional classes in zone RC primaries (with catchment review if required)

• Leith Academy, Trinity Academy – increase capacity for 270 extra pupils

LIBERTON/GILMERTON

• Broomhills – new 11-class primary and nursery

• Gilmerton Station Road – new seven-class primary and nursery

• Three additional classes in zone RC primaries (with catchment review if required)

• Gracemount High and/or Liberton High – increase capacity for 368 extra pupils

PORTOBELLO

• Two additional classes in zone primaries or neighbouring primaries (with catchment review)

QUEENSFERRY

• Builyeon Road – new 14-class primary and nursery

• St Margaret’s RC Primary – two additional classes

• Queensferry High and St Augustine’s RC High – increase capacity for 269 extra pupils

SOUTH CENTRAL

• Four additional classes in zone primaries

• One additional class in zone RC primaries

• Tynecastle, Boroughmuir, James Gillespie’s and St Augustine’s RC highs – increase capacity for 102 extra pupils

SOUTH WEST AND WHEC

• Three additional classes in zone primaries (with catchment review if required)

• Amend Clovenstone Primary catchment area to include Curriemuirend site

WEST EDINBURGH

• Maybury – new 21-class primary and nursery

• International Business Gateway – new 14-class primary and nursery

• Four additional classes in zone RC primaries

• Increase capacity for 99 extra RC pupils (St Augustine’s RC High)

• New 600-capacity ND secondary school