Furious parents will descend on the City Chambers today to protest against council plans to close Currie Community High School and Wester Hailes Education Centre (WHEC) and move kids to a purpose-built “super” school.
The Save our Schools Action Group is made up of parents whose children attend the two high schools, neighbouring Woodlands Special School and feeder primaries Juniper Green, Nether Currie and Currie.
Kirsty Cumming, who has an eight-year-old daughter at Juniper Green Primary, is one of the parents taking a stand against the proposed demolition of the two high schools. She said: “As parents we don’t want the closures to happen. People highly regard Currie and WHEC.”
Concerns have been raised by parents of children at Woodlands who use the facilities and attend some classes at Currie High. Ms Cummings said: “It’s dreadful for them to think they’re children could suffer if the relationship between the two schools changes.” Council plans unveiled at the end of last year for the new 1,600 capacity school in south-west Edinburgh suggest it could be built on a greenfield site just north of Baberton. The site is populated by pylons that one parent claims could cost up to £25 million to remove. There are also concerns over links between high voltage electricity on the site and childhood leukaemia.
Ms Cumming said: “We believe that it’s not going to be an educational advantage to any of the children to move them to a new school. It will be detrimental to their development and a massive disadvantage to the pupils of Woodlands.
“Education research tells us that schools should be kept at the heart of the local community. That’s the best way to best education.”
Council officials have said WHEC and Currie will both need replacing in coming years and that merging them into a bigger school will provide better learning opportunities for their pupils.
Juniper Green Community Council’s Aonghas McIntosh said: “I hope that the council recognise that investing in the already successful schools in the area will provide our children with the best chance of success.
“Up to this point, the council have not listened to our logic and reason and it’s for this reason that we are demonstrating more visibly on Friday. If the council move forward any proposal that destroys our successful schools, let there be no doubt that we will continue to fight it at every step.”
City education convener, Cllr Ian Perry, said: “Throughout this consultation we have encouraged as many individuals, representative groups and organisations to voice their opinions, so we could hear from everyone affected by these proposals.
“We welcome the views that have been expressed at the many engagement events we have held over the past six months and fully appreciate this has been a lengthy process.
“However, this is a long-term decision that will affect the education of young people for generations, so it’s important we get this right.”