Edinburgh education chiefs urged to give reassurances that uncertainty over Gaelic school will not delay new Liberton High School

City education chiefs have been urged to reassure parents, pupils and staff at Liberton High School that plans for their new building will not be delayed by uncertainty over whether or not a Gaelic high school is to be built next door.

Saturday, 15th May 2021, 4:55 am

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The council wants to build the two schools on a joint campus, but the SNP’s Holyrood election manifesto promised a stand-alone Gaelic secondary school in a central location, which appears to chime with the preferences of many Gaelic parents.

And a decision on launching a statutory consultation on the council’s plans was postponed for a week while officials sought “clarity” from the Scottish Government over its intentions.

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There has been a long campaign to get a new Liberton High School

But Liberton/Gilmerton Labour councillor Lezley Marion Cameron said the questions surrounding the Gaelic school must not delay the Liberton project.

She said: "People have been campaigning for this for a very long time. It is one of the oldest schools in the city and there are a whole lot of reasons why we need a new high school – and the council recognises that. I don't want any further complication to get in the way of progressing that."

She stressed she was not being critical in any way of Gaelic school provision.

But she said: “I want to make sure everything with Liberton is progressing as planned. People need to be reassured the progress we've made continues, irrespective of whether the Gaelic school is co-located with Liberton or not.”

The existing secondary-age Gaelic-medium education unit at James Gillespie's High has to move because the school is at capacity with pupil numbers set to grow. A survey last year found just 15 per cent of Gaelic parents supported the Liberton joint campus proposal.

A council spokesman said: “Any proposal for a Gaelic high school on the Liberton High School site does not impact on our plans for a replacement Liberton. The Scottish Government confirmed in December that a new Liberton High School is included in Phase 2 of their Learning Estate Investment Programme and we have committed funds in future budgets as part of our ambitious new school building programme which will see more than £500m planned investment over the next decade.”

The new Liberton High School is planned to open in August 2025.

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