Comment: ‘School plan for P7s needs to be probed’

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THE latest idea to deal with the chronic ­overcrowding in popular Edinburgh primaries looks certain to be the talk of the school gate.

It is understandable that the suggestion of primary seven ­pupils effectively making the leap to big school one year early is already causing concern.

But it is also important to remember that this is currently just a proposal to be investigated and one which, we hope, will not be introduced without the implications being thoroughly investigated.

There are advantages and disadvantages.

It would clearly free up a lot of space in primary schools to relieve the bottleneck and provide an ­immediate solution to a growing problem facing the city.

There may also be a case to be made that it would offer a more gentle introduction to secondary school for the primary sevens, ­enabling them to make the ­transition more easily.

But then there are the very real concerns of parents and some teachers that children at the age of 11 will simply not be ready to be placed in that environment.

Being in primary seven and the experience of being the big fish in a small school is seen as an ­important right of passage.

Removing that experience is a big step which needs careful ­consideration.

Indeed there are still a raft of questions to be answered, not least exactly how the set up would work – whether the younger pupils would be separated from the ­secondary school population and how this would be achieved.

But we have to give credit to officials who are at least ­looking at innovative ideas to solve a problem which needs to be ­tackled.

The ultimate decision on whether this measure or any other change is made should be based on one concern alone – the best outcome for children.