Comment: The schools challenge facing Edinburgh is huge

TODAY we lay bare the extent of the schools challenge facing Edinburgh as the population grows.

Saturday, 21st May 2016, 12:10 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st May 2016, 2:02 pm
File picture: Julie Bull
File picture: Julie Bull

More than 30 schools will have to be adapted to accommodate extra pupils, with eight new primary schools and a new secondary also required in the next decade or so.

The overall cost is an eyewatering £239 million.

Of course, we have known for some time that schools in the Capital were under pressure and that major challenges were around the corner.

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Still, to have it spelled out in such stark terms is frightening.

Add into that the recent school closures controversy and the revelation this week that both the new James Gillespie’s and Boroughmuir high schools will be over-capacity by 540 pupils within a decade due to soaring school rolls, and you could excuse some nerves on the part of parents.

What we must hope is that important lessons have already been learned and the inquiry into the PFI scandal will mean that substandard buildings will never again be delivered for Edinburgh school pupils.

The soon-to-be finalised local development plan sets out a blueprint for the growth of Edinburgh in a controlled fashion, meaning that city council chiefs know exactly where the demand will be and when.

It is hoped developers will fund the majority of the work needed and it is vitally important that they are held to this and not allowed to wriggle out of their obligations.

The challenge facing the city may be huge but at least it is now quantified and plans are already being put in place.

With full consultation, let’s get it right and make sure we give future generations the best possible start in life.

One thing is for sure, Edinburgh does not need any more school building controversies.