School starved of lunch hall dines out on major revamp

A PRIMARY school where children have been forced to eat their lunches in classrooms will have a new dining hall after the summer break thanks to a £7 million investment in schools across the Capital.

Pupils at South Morningside Primary School had to queue just to get a seat in the tiny dining room, meaning those who were last in line missed out on getting time to play outside during their break.

The main renovation and redecoration work will be carried out at eight primary schools and one high school – Trinity Academy – during the summer holidays.

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Earlier this year, pupils at Morningside invited councillors to have lunch in the dining room to show them how inadequate the facilities are.

In addition to the regular council programme of building repair and maintenance, fire improvement and energy efficiency measures, this summer schools will benefit from a one-off £4m for fabric repairs, which was approved by the local authority in February to cover any essential redecoration works and replacement floor coverings.

In total around £7m – ringfenced in the 2012-13 budget – will be spent on the work, which is already under way and includes new floor coverings, replacing carpets in classrooms, soundproofing, a water tank upgrade/replacement, redecoration works and new toilet cubicles.

Kate Morris, whose two sons Tom, eight, and Sam Davies, six, are pupils at South Morningside Primary, welcomed the news.

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“The parents are absolutely delighted, particularly as the dining experience for our children really hasn’t been a good one at all,” she said.

“This will make a huge difference to our school.

“Some of the pupils will still have to eat in classrooms but there will be a huge amount more dining space and it will really help. The pupils have been eating in shifts, so they haven’t been queuing for the dining hall recently.”

She added: “They’re [the council] also sorting out the heating system as well and decorating. It will make an enormous difference because the school has not been decorated for a long, long time.

“The dining hall is very dismal, grey and prison like at the moment, so in terms of the look and feel, it will be much more appealing for them. I think the work will change the whole feel of the school, much to the better.”