Children's report card shows good progress

Pledges to ensure every child in the capital gets the best start in life are on track according to a new City of Edinburgh Council report.

The ‘contract with the capital’, published after the 2012 local government elections, detailed six specific priorities and 53 pledges that will be reported on annually by the Capital Coalition.

Councillor Paul Godzik, Convener for Education, Children and Families, is responsible for the commitment to ensure that every child in Edinburgh gets the best start in life.

The related pledges are:

1. Increase support for vulnerable children, including help for families so that fewer go into care

2. Hold the maximum P1 class size at 25 and seek to reduce class sizes in line with Scottish Government recommendations

3. Rebuild Portobello High School and continue progress on all other planned school developments, while providing adequate investment in the fabric of all schools

4. Draw up a long-term strategic plan to tackle both over-crowding and under use in schools

5. Seek to ensure the smooth introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence and that management structures within our schools support the new curriculum

6. Establish city-wide childcare co-operatives for affordable childcare for working parents

Cllr Paul Godzik said: “There are a number of extremely challenging issues facing the Council, like rising rolls and the need to increase support for the most vulnerable children. However, I’m delighted that progress has been made towards meeting our pledges and would commend the dedicated work of officers in the Children and Families Department.

·         £8.6m has been allocated to early intervention and vulnerable children through the Early Years Change Fund

·         Work is underway for developing childcare co-operatives in the city to meet the need for affordable childcare

·         Preparations are well underway for the new national SQA exams next year with specific training being provided for curriculum leaders

·         New classrooms will be opening at six primary schools in August to deal with the pressure of rising school rolls.

·         The City of Edinburgh Council (Portobello Park) Private Bill has been introduced in the Scottish Parliament which, if approved, would remove the legal impediment which currently prevents the new Portobello High School being built on Portobello Park

·         £22.7m has been allocated to fund repair and maintenance in properties in the Children and Families estate over the next three years

·         Additional funding of £13.4m over the next five years will see the completion of the wave 3 school replacement programme by delivering a new St John’s Primary School and a new St Crispin’s Special School

·         Further new investment of £10.5m will see the delivery of a new nursery at Wardie Primary School, a replacement and expended nursery at Duddingston Primary School and a new hall at Blackhall Primary School with the funding earmarked for the additional accommodation requirements which are expected to arise in the next few years as a result of rising rolls in the primary school estate being increased to £14.9m.  

“There is much more to do, especially with regards to long-term planning and investment into our schools and other facilities. We now need to build on the strong foundations that have been laid and ensure further improvements over the coming year so that every child gets the best start in life.”

Full details of the pledges and their status are contained in the first year’s performance report.

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