New classrooms revealed for city primary schools

Plans to deliver new classrooms to deal with the issue of rising rolls in the capital have been revealed by the City of Edinburgh Council.

St Davids PS new classroom

The Primary School Estate Rising Rolls report lists seven schools where space pressures may arise for the start of the 2015/16 session - Clermiston, East Craigs, Flora Stevenson, Gilmerton, Pentland, Ratho and Wardie Primary Schools – and a number of possible solutions.

In addition three other schools south of the city centre – Brunstfield, James Gillespie’s and South Morningside – face similar issues.  A separate report which considers their specific issues and the possible approaches in that area as a whole will also be discussed at the Education, Children and Families Committee on 4 March.

With primary school rolls projected to rise to a peak of nearly 31,000 pupils by 2019 – an increase of about 15% on the position at the start of the 2013/14 school year – the Council is actively tackling the issue.

A total of £15m has already been pledged to help build extra accommodation. New classrooms have already been successfully delivered at Granton, Trinity and Wardie Primary Schools at the start of this school year receiving positive feedback from parents, pupils and staff.

A total of 18 new classrooms will be built at four schools for the start of the next school year in August 2014 - Broughton, Victoria, St David’s and Craigour Park – with a further 6 additional classrooms being provided at Fox Covert, Stockbridge, Flora Stevenson, Bruntsfield and Gylemuir Primary Schools by adapting the existing buildings.

Councillor Paul Godzik, Education Convener, said: “This report highlights the schools where we believe there will be accommodation pressures and outlines how we can meet demand for places from catchment pupils in 2015/16.

“The increase in rolls comes at a time when budgets are under increasing pressure, and so the Council has a responsibility to plan ahead, and ensure we provide a solution that fits with our needs and our budget. 

“Despite the difficult financial climate the Capital Coalition has doubled the budget available for rising rolls, pledging £15m to tackle the issue. This has already resulted in fantastic new accommodation being delivered at several schools across the city.

"The primary school roll projections are updated every year to identify those schools where future accommodation pressures might arise allowing us to plan in advance for any changes necessary to deal with increased pupil numbers. We will now consult with these schools to identify the best solution to address the pressures should they arise.”

Cllr Godzik added: “Whether or not it is traditional extensions, new build accommodation or adapting existing space, we are committed to providing the very best educational environment for our pupils and are determined to listen to parental views and work with school communities as we move forward.

“In the longer term finding a sustainable solution to the problem of rising rolls is really important. We have to ensure there is space available for our catchment pupils.  That’s why we will be laying out proposals to deal with the issue south of the city centre in the Brunstfield, James Gillespie’s and South Morningside area, and why we are working very closely with planning colleagues to look at the wider impact of housing developments included in the Local Development Plan.

A further report will be considered at the May committee with a proposed solution for each school.

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