Four options being considered for Edinburgh's new Gaelic secondary school

A Gaelic medium education unit is currently based at James Gillespie's High School.
A Gaelic medium education unit is currently based at James Gillespie's High School.
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EDUCATION bosses say they are looking at four options over where to set up a Gaelic secondary school in the Capital.

Two would involve a stand-alone school to replace the current secondary-age Gaelic medium education (GME) unit based within James Gillespie’s High School. The other two would mean the new Gaelic school being part of a joint campus.

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The options were discussed at a meeting between parents and education chiefs this week. It is understood the stand-alone options involve an unspecified site in Granton or Castlebrae High School - either refurbishment of the current school or a new building on the site, which will be available once the new secondary school for Craigmillar is built.

Alternatively the new Gaelic school could be co-located on a campus with one of two new planned secondary schools, but these have not been named.

Education vice-convener Alison Dickie said it had been acknowledged at the meeting that a joint campus school could be delivered more quickly since six city high schools have already been approved for replacement and there is also the prospect of an extra high school to serve West Edinburgh.

But she said the key factor was what was best from an educational point of view. “We’re very much working towards 2024 as the date for the new school and we need funding nailed by

February 2020. But we would never take an easier route if there was an issue with the education.”

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Parents were reassured the current GME unit will remain part of Gillespie’s until a new school is ready - though it is due to move along with some other Gillespie’s pupils to the council’s nearby Darroch annexe in 2021 because Gillespie’s is over capacity.

Brian Thunder, parent rep on the Gaelic implementation group, played down the location issue. “From the parents’ point of view, What’s more important to us is what happens within the building - and that is a higher priority than where the school might be located.”