School merger proposed under plans to tackle rising number of Edinburgh pupils

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Two Edinburgh high schools have been earmarked for a potential merger as part of a major shake-up to help tackle rising pupil numbers across the Capital.

As part of the council’s ongoing schools review, Currie High School would be amalgamated with Wester Hailes Education Centre to form a new South West Edinburgh High School.

Currie High School

Currie High School

Other key proposals include the creation of a second new high school in west Edinburgh, a new Maybury Primary School and the expansion of refurbishment of Balerno High School.

The proposals – including changes to catchment areas – would affect 13 primary schools and seven high schools.

It comes as latest projections show that by 2026 there could be an extra 1300 primary and secondary pupils in west Edinburgh, where there are currently 4000 new homes proposed.

Meanwhile the south-west of the city could see more than 200 new pupils following the delivery of 700 new homes.

Education convener Ian Perry said it was important to make changes to ensure the Capital’s schools would be able to cope with the anticipated rise in pupils.

He said: “We need to ensure we can provide places for these additional children and that is why we are reviewing the school provision across the city.

“This strategic approach means Edinburgh will be well-placed to meet the future challenges our schools face.

“We have to get this right to ensure what we do now will serve our school communities for the next 30 to 40 years as these additional children come through our education system.

“It’s not about looking at just the next few years but planning ahead for future generations.”

The proposed closure of Currie High School comes after a survey revealed the building would need to be replace in coming years, with major improvement works also needed at WHEC and Balerno High.

According to the council. Currie High School would close in August 2022 on completion of the new South West Edinburgh High School.

Two locations are being considered for the new south-west school, one the Curriemuirend site which was formerly proposed for housing, the other a greenfield site just north of Baberton.

All Currie High School and WHEC pupils would transfer to the new school.

Balerno High School would move temporarily move to Currie High School building for two years to allow the existing Balerno building to be revamped and expanded.

The Currie High School site would then be sold for development in 2024.

Alison Dickie, vice convener of education, said the council was keen to hear from parents and members of the school community.

She said: “The aim of publishing these proposals is to gauge the views of parents and their school communities. It’s so important we hear their voices – especially if they have any alternative proposals we could consider.

“The consultation over the coming months is an integral part of the review process however I must stress these proposals cannot be implemented without a statutory consultation process which would be the next step.

“It’s important to remember that no decisions have been made so I would urge anyone who has views on the plans to feed back their comments so it can help shape any future statutory consultation.”

Parents of children at affected schools were informed of the proposals today in a letter from Alistair Gaw, executive director for communities and families.

In summary, the proposals for west and south-west Edinburgh are:

Currie High School (HS) and Wester Hailes Education Centre (WHEC) would amalgamate in a new building on a new school site Balerno HS would be refurbished and expanded and a new secondary school would be established on a site west of Maybury;

Currie Primary School (PS) catchment would go to Balerno High School (HS) rather than Currie HS;

Currie PS catchment area would be reduced in size by realigning sections with Dean Park PS; and Nether Currie PS. This would affect Currie HS and Balerno HS;

Dean Park PS and Kirknewton PS would continue to go to Balerno HS;

Nether Currie PS catchment would go to the new South West HS rather than Currie HS;

Juniper Green PS catchment would go to the new South West HS rather than Currie HS;

Sighthill PS catchment would go to Forrester HS rather than WHEC;

Canal View PS catchment would go to the new South West HS rather than WHEC;

Clovenstone PS catchment would go to a New South West HS rather than WHEC;

Ratho PS catchment would go to a New West Edinburgh HS rather than Balerno HS;

Hillwood PS catchment would go to a New West Edinburgh HS rather than Craigmount HS;

Roseburn PS catchment would go to Tynecastle HS rather than Craigmount HS;

New housing in the Cammo area of Cramond PS and The Royal High catchments would go to New Maybury PS and New West Edinburgh HS respectively;

West section of Corstorphine PS and Craigmount HS catchments would go to a New Maybury PS and a New West Edinburgh HS respectively.

Kirkliston PS is the subject of a separate consultation process looking at high school options.

The Council will be holding events between January 9, 2018 and February, 9 2018 at all the affected schools. These events will be organised through the parent councils and will allow invited focus groups to discuss the proposals with council officers.

In March 2018, the education, children and families committee will be provided with an update on the discussions that have taken place and recommendations about what should happen next.

Full details of the proposals can be found on the council website.

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