Population explosion could see classrooms built at leisure centre

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A school on the outskirts of the Capital could be set for a new campus to tackle an “immediate need” for action following an increase in pupil numbers.

Villagers and parents of pupils at Kirkliston Primary School will be asked whether to push ahead with plans for more P1 and nursery facilities to be built at a leisure centre, subject to the approval of the city council’s Education, Children and Families Committee today (9).

It is proposed that new classrooms could be built as part of a new Kirkliston Primary School early stages campus on the Kirkliston Leisure Centre site, around 500 metres from the main school.

The council has allocated £1.7 million in its early years hours expansion strategy for the creation of a new early years campus for Kirkliston Primary School. This will be paid for by the Scottish Government.

It is believed that an additional £1 million will be needed to provide the four additional P1 classes on the leisure centre campus. This will need to be found from “additional resources in future capital budgets”.

Last month, plans to build up to 100 homes on the edge of Kirkliston were given the green light by councillors - despite a public campaign opposing the proposals.

Liberal Democrat ward Cllr Louise Young is pleased the consultation is set to take place, but called for more options to be put on the table for solving the rising pupil number headache.

She said: “Kirkliston has grown significantly over the last 10 years. People with families are moving out here. The intake is approximately double of what it was.

“There’s absolutely a need to increase nursery education in Kirkliston. The school is now at capacity and we have had to bring a hut in – we need to do something.

“I welcome the fact they are going out to consultation but I would like a variety of options to be explored than just one idea and be so prescriptive.”

The new campus would be a purpose-built facility incorporating a 128-place nursery for two to five-year-olds and accommodation for four P1 classes. The new building would include dining facilities and a large play area and nursery garden and would replace the nursery currently operating within the community centre on Queensferry Road.

If approved, it is anticipated that the new facility would open in August 2020. Temporary classroom facilities will be provided on the main Kirkliston Primary School site from August 2019.

Education convener Cllr Ian Perry said: “Due to pressures created by rising rolls at Kirkliston Primary School, we need to provide additional accommodation. The school site has already been expanded on so following initial discussions with school management and the parent council, it is proposed that new classrooms be built as part of a new Kirkliston Primary School early stages campus on the Kirkliston leisure centre site.

“This is only a short distance from the main school and a new facility would have the benefit of reducing pressure on the school’s main site and improving the transition from nursery to primary. It is anticipated that pupils would also benefit from access to the leisure centre’s facilities.”

If approved at today’s Education, Children and Families Committee, a statutory consultation will be launched to gauge public opinion for the single proposed option to alleviate pressure on rising school rolls.

The committee will also consider approving a statutory consultation to adjust the catchment boundaries of Currie Primary School, Dean Park Primary School and Nether Currie Primary School as well as changes to Currie High School and Balerno High School.