Pupils write to Santa in plea to keep high school open

DOZENS of letters calling on Santa to save an Edinburgh high school will be delivered to the City Chambers today as campaigners rally against a proposed merger.

Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 2:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 2:58 pm
Lola Dinwoodie. Picture: Jon Savage

It comes as parents and children prepare to stage a silent protest over a potential move to amalgamate Currie High with Wester Hailes Education Centre (WHEC).

The plans – part of the council’s ongoing schools review – would see both schools close in August 2022 following the construction of a new south-west Edinburgh high school.

But critics have said closing them would have an adverse impact on their respective communities, with petitions to “save” both having been signed by thousands.

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Picture: TSPL

Now youngsters affected by the suggested closure of Currie High have taken it to the top by addressing their letters to Alistair Gaw, the council’s executive director of communities and families.

They ask Mr Gaw to “please tell Santa that all I want for Christmas is my local community high school to remain open”, with each child then inserting their own reason.

The arrival of their letters will coincide with a deputation at today’s education committee from representatives of Currie High’s parent council.

Among those set to attend is mum-of-three Dani Dinwoodie, whose children all attend Juniper Green Primary School. Under the proposals, Juniper Green’s catchment would go to the new south west high school rather than Currie when it opens in 2022.

Lola Dinwoodie. Picture: Jon Savage

Ms Dinwoodie, 40, said they wanted to make sure the council knew just how strongly the community felt. She said: “It’s not moving one school to a new building, it’s a new school – everything would be different.

“There’s a lot of confusion as to why this is even a proposal and that’s where the deputation has come in. We want to be heard before the point it gets put out to public consultation. We are not saying no to a new building, we are saying no to moving it out of the community and ripping it all apart.”

The council has previously insisted that no decision has been made and that they welcome people’s views.

And education convener Ian Perry said he wanted to reassure people that their concerns over the future of community facilities had also been heard.

Picture: TSPL

He said: “We understand that these facilities are often what bonds communities together and we will work with residents in the west and south west of the city to ensure they continue to be provided.”

Vice-convener Alison Dickie added: “We fully appreciate the comments being made about sporting and community facilities and will absolutely take them on board as we continue with our consultation process.

“We do listen and change proposals following feedback. A perfect example was earlier this year when we consulted about the plans for the new Queensferry High School. There was strong local support for increasing the number of swimming pool lanes from four to six which has now been agreed.

“We are only at the informal consultation stage with the west and south-west review and are keen to hear people’s ideas and solutions.”

Lola Dinwoodie. Picture: Jon Savage