Letters: Better together should be answer for troubled schools

There is no prospect of a new Castlebrae High. Picture: Ian Rutherford
There is no prospect of a new Castlebrae High. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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East Edinburgh is in the midst of an education crisis. Edinburgh City Council is embroiled in a costly and lengthy legal and Parliamentary process over a new school to replace Portobello High with little likelihood of success.

Castlebrae High School is to close soon with no prospect of the long-promised new school ever being built.

Parents and pupils face several years of uncertainty at the most critical stage of a child’s life.

Staff also require stability to enable them to work to the highest professional standards.

These challenging times require bold leadership from Edinburgh’s councillors.

Surely the answer to both communities’ problems is one school on a site that is large enough to provide substantial open space for a modern school building, playing fields, running track, sports facilities, swimming pool and outdoor education activities such as environmental studies and which could also be accessible for community use, adult learners and multi-cultural social inclusion.

Two sites are immediately available for such a comprehensive high school campus which could be built within two years, one at Craigmillar and one at Brunstane.

Portobello and Craigmillar would be better together.

Lyndsay Martin, secretary, Craigmillar Labour

Big wheel nudges memorials aside

Am I the only person to be once again disappointed in the speed that the Remembrance poppies and crosses were removed to make way for the big wheel and other rides surrounding the Scott Monument?

It has happened for a few years now, but this year there were so many small remembrance crosses – some of them showing photos of the young soldiers who died in Afghanistan. I’m quite sure that the loved ones of those remembered will be very upset to know how short a time their crosses have been allowed to stay in position.

Perhaps Edinburgh City Council can re-think things from next year. I certainly hope so.

Margaret Wilson, Edinburgh

Give us a taste of old days again

THEY say Edinburgh has the finest restaurants. I am not disputing this, but not one exists in our famous Princes Street.

I look back with nostalgia and pleasure to when the Capital had Crawford’s, the Brown Derby and the “original” Jenners to name but a few, when waitresses wore a white frilly apron and cap, hovering around, giving personal attention and first-class service. The choice was endless, and I mean choice.

What have we now? Self-service, endless queues, disinterested, uncommunicative staff and menus that are often tasteless.

Oh, to return to those long-gone days, with our traditional values and high-class ways.

Sylvia M DeLuca, Baberton Park, Juniper Green, Edinburgh

Report fails to give the fuel facts

The Institute for Fiscal Studies report is a welcome contribution to the debate on Scotland’s finances post-independence. It indicates that Scotland, with a geographical share of the UK’s oil and gas resources, could meet current commitments and also confirmed that Scotland’s current debt is not as high as the rest of the UK.

The claim that an independent Scotland would be more reliant than the UK as a whole on oil and gas is indeed true but neglects a number of facts.

Firstly, by controlling the levers of power the Scottish Government would be fully able to stimulate growth in the economy, minimising this reliance.

It interestingly also sidelines the fact that while Scotland would initially be reliant on oil and gas for 15 per cent of its income, Norway, with a smaller population than Scotland, is currently reliant for 29 per cent of its income on oil and gas revenues.

Norway is one of the richest countries in the world per head of population and consistently boasts the highest standard of living in the world.

While those in favour of the retention of the Union comment on the financial instability facing an independent Scotland, this criticism must therefore also extend to Norway which is curiously leaps and bounds ahead of the UK when it comes to quality of life and strength of economy.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh