‘Parents don’t want their kids at Castlebrae’

CLOSING a school is never an easy decision to make. Just ask the previous council administration, which announced plans to close 22 of them – before beating a retreat in the face of parental protests.

The decision to close just one between now and 2017 will prompt a sigh of relief in many parts of the city. But it is inevitable that any closure will cause upset – and natural too. Parents understandably want to send their children to their first-choice school.

However, we cannot escape the fact that the vast majority of parents in Craigmillar simply don’t want their children to go to Castlebrae High. Sadly, the claim on the school’s website to be “a centre of excellence at the heart of the community” is self-evidently untrue.

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Unlike the WHEC, which languished at the wrong end of academic “league tables”, it has not found a way to turn around its exam results.

When there are spare places in nearby schools, the financial case for closing Castlebrae is inarguable, and pupils who have to move elsewhere will receive a better education.

It is a mark of failure though – at many levels and over many years – that the school has not been able to thrive.

It has not been through a lack of effort on the part of many education professionals, but standards have remained stubbornly low, despite repeated “social inclusion” projects.

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There may not be huge numbers of people who will queue up to lament the end of Castlebrae High - but no-one will be celebrating either.

Sporting legend

After 76 years of waiting, Britain has its first Grand Slam tennis champion – and he’s a Scot. How incredible does that sound?

Tennis is one of the hardest sports in which to reach the top. Physically, emotionally and technically demanding, only the very best reach the pinnacle. In this year of British sport, with so many great performances in the Olympics and Paralympics, Andy Murray’s achievements still stand out because they are so rare, so difficult to accomplish.

While Andy deserves so much praise, a word too for Team Murray, who have helped him get to the top. His mother Judy has been an inspiration, nurturing the flame of talent and turning her own wee boy into a world beater. And a word for Ivan Lendl too. Murray was 95 per cent Grand Slam champion when he became his coach. But sometimes the final five per cent is the hardest to achieve. Lendl has given him total belief and Murray is now the champ. Our champ. Our hero. Our sporting legend.