Celebrating a year of success in our schools - Joan Griffiths

Today is the last day of term before the summer holidays start and I want to wish everyone from our young people to their teachers and all the other dedicated staff working in our schools a well-deserved and relaxing break.
Councillor Joan Griffiths - Education, Children and Families Convener for the City of Edinburgh CouncilCouncillor Joan Griffiths - Education, Children and Families Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council
Councillor Joan Griffiths - Education, Children and Families Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council

In my role as Education, Children and Families Convener I’ve had the great pleasure of visiting many of our schools and early years settings since I took up the role last May.

As a parent and grandmother I know how important the building blocks of learning are for our young people as they take their first steps in life. So this past year has seen some outstanding achievements and developments.

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One of the biggest has been the success of our Empowered Learning project which has seen over 44,000 digital devices handed out to pupils and school staff across the city. This has been one of the most significant projects that the council has undertaken thanks to our £17.5 million investment and means all pupils from P6 to S6 now have their own devices.

This is a significant and sustained investment in the future learning, outcomes and achievements of Edinburgh’s children and young people. More importantly it means equal access to learning and is a vital element of our ambitious and inclusive education strategy, Edinburgh Learns for Life, which aims to increase attainment for everyone and reduce the poverty-related attainment gap.

The high quality learning and teaching we’re providing has also been recognised with notable recent successes. Hope Cottage Nursery and James Gillespie’s High School were both winners at the Scottish Education Awards and Firrhill High School was nominated for best secondary school in the UK – the only Scottish school to be shortlisted in the TES Awards. We’ve also received a number of positive Education Scotland reports across a range of our schools highlighting great work taking place for digital use, equalities work and raising attainment.

Investment in new buildings in our education estate are also a key pledge of our administration. We’ve committed funds in future budgets as part of our ambitious new school building programme which will see more than £430m planned investment over the next decade.

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Five new early years settings opened this year, as did the new sports and outdoor centre for Trinity Academy and I attended the official ceremony for the new Castlebrae Community Campus – the latest new high school to open its doors.

The planning application for a new Liberton High School has been approved, construction work has already started on the Maybury Primary School which will also contain a GP surgery and a new Currie High School is due for completion which will be one of the first Passivhaus high schools in the country.

Lastly can I wish everyone who sat exams all the best for results day in August and I hope you all achieve your goals whatever they may be.

So all in all this has been a year where there’s been much to celebrate and be proud of and I’m looking forward with much optimism for the year ahead.

Councillor Joan Griffiths is Education, Children and Families Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council