Council put forward alternative options for Currie/Wester Hailes school merger

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EDUCATION bosses are considering plans for a 1,600-capacity ‘super-school’ as one of three “alternative options” for the controversial proposed merger of two secondary schools in the south west of the city.

The local authority put forward proposals to amalgamate Currie High and Wester Hailes Education Centre (WHEC) in November last year, but the scheme was met with furious backlash from parents at both schools who accused the council of “wrenching the community apart”.

The council have proposed alternative plans for the merger.

The council have proposed alternative plans for the merger.

Proposals tabled in November suggested creating a new ‘south west Edinburgh high school,’ with a capacity for 1,200 pupils.

The intake would realign the likes of Juniper Green, Nether Currie, Canal View and Clovenstone Primaries with the new school.

READ MORE: Parents from Currie High and Wester Hailes schools demand merger rethink

A second new high, ‘west Edinburgh high school,’ would be built on a site at either Ratho Station or the International Business Gateway - with capacity for 1,400 students.

However, the proposals proved unpopular as over 1,000 people signed a petition against the merger, forcing the Council to explore alternative proposals.

A special meeting of the council’s education committee next Thursday will hear feedback from public consultation on how to deal with rising population and the need to improve schools in the area.

One of the options listed in a council briefing document proposes closing WHEC and expanding Currie High on a new site to take in 1,600 students, making it the largest secondary in the capital in a £140m project.

That includes repurposing the former WHEC building as a community hub and expanding the capacity of Balerno High School to 1,000 pupils.

The new West Edinburgh High School would then absorb pupils from Kirkliston, Hillwood and a new Maybury primary school, with space for 1,200 students.

But two other proposals have also been tabled.

READ MORE: Opposition grows to Wester Hailes - Currie high school merger

A potential £155m project proposes expanding both Balerno and Currie High schools on their current sites with room for 1,000 students.

In that scheme, The new West Edinburgh High School would also take in pupils from Kirkliston, Hillwood and a new Maybury primary school, with space for 1,200 students.

A final option would see WHEC feeders Clovenstone, Canal View and Sighthill going into a new South West Edinburgh School. Juniper Green primary pupils would also be redirected to the new school.

The new school would have capacity for 900 pupils, while Balerno and Currie would be expanded to 900 and 800-pupil capacities respectively.

Vice education convener, councillor Alison Dickie said: “This is a really positive opportunity to plan for the future of our education. As someone who left teaching in the last year, there are issues with spaces and this gives us a chance to totally future-proof inclusion for children.”

“Although I totally believe education is holistic and is nothing to do with the actual building, designing a building, having opportunity to plan for the future and be more radical than other schools out there, I think is a really positive opportunity no matter which option comes out.”

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