Latest plans for schools unveiled in bid to tackle rising demand

Talks are in place to replace a number of high schools in the city to tackle demand.
Talks are in place to replace a number of high schools in the city to tackle demand.
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TALKS are to be held over the replacement of a city high school as the council unveiled how it plans to tackle the increased demand from growing pupil numbers across the Capital.

A report outlining the proposals will go before councillors next week as the new administration laid out what it plans to do with the school estate over the coming months and years.

The new edication leader Ian Perry.

The new edication leader Ian Perry.

Priorities include a consultation on the design of the replacement Castlebrae High School and the start of an informal consultation on future school provision in west and south-west Edinburgh. Also on the agenda is an investigation into the creation of additional capacity at Boroughmuir High School with a new site at India Quay.

Councillors will also consider plans to begin an informal consultation on the city’s future provision of secondary Gaelic medium education.

Ian Perry, the city’s new education leader, said it was vital the council planned ahead given schools in the city “face a unique challenge in coping with an ever-increasing population”.

Cllr Perry said the council had already delivered an additional 74 classrooms across its primary estate, with work already under way on the construction of the new St John’s Primary School and the design of a primary school to the south of the city centre.

Teachers in Scotland are considering leaving the profession.  Picture: TSPL

Teachers in Scotland are considering leaving the profession. Picture: TSPL

But he added: “We cannot be complacent and have to ensure this positive work continues into future years.

“This report identifies emerging issues for our schools and lifelong learning estate which we need to deal with now and come up with deliverable solutions including funding considerations. We will of course consult fully with our school communities as we progress any plans.

“The successful exam results this week demonstrate the high level of teaching being delivered in our schools and we need to take all the steps we can to ensure this first class education continues for the children of Edinburgh.”

Plans for the new Castlebrae High School would see it constructed in phases, with the first aimed at creating 700 places. This could rise to 1200 with a further extension later down the line. To complete the first phase the council would need around £29 million in extra funds, which it hopes to obtain through the next round of the Scottish Government’s Schools for the Future Programme.

Cllr Perry said he was confident the project would go ahead, adding the new school would help regenerate the area.

He added: “In the Craigmillar masterplan the secondary school is key to the regeneration of the area. A school is not just for teaching kids, it’s for communities to use so it gives the whole area a boost.”

It comes after the council unveiled blueprints for the construction of nine schools – eight primaries and one secondary – in the west of the city. The plans followed a government pledge to build 32,000 houses by 2024.