Latest wave of new classrooms open their doors

Hundreds of primary school children have started learning in their new classrooms today (Monday, 17 August) as the City of Edinburgh Council continues to tackle the issue of rising school rolls.

James Gillespies PS new classes
All together for the opening of the new classrooms at James Gillespies Primary School

The Council has provided 24 new class spaces, delivered in conjunction with partners Hub South East Scotland Ltd and Morrison Construction, for the start of the 2015/16 school session.

The primary schools where the new class spaces have been provided are: James Gillespie’s (4 classes), Clermiston (4), Flora Stevenson (3), Gilmerton (4), Pentland (3), Ratho (4) and Wardie (2).

In addition South Morningside Primary School now has a significant new temporary annexe which has been created for P1 and P2 pupils at the former Deanbank Resource Centre and extra internal space has been provided at both Brunstfield and Liberton Primary Schools.

Since 2013 the Council has provided 70 new class spaces to accommodate the city’s increasing primary school population, ensuring catchment pupils can get a place at their catchment school.  At the start of the 2014/15 school year there were 28,010 primary school pupils but latest estimates show this is anticipated to rise to 31,700 by 2020 and then increase further to 35,400 by 2030.

Councillor Paul Godzik, Education Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “In total the Council has allocated nearly £20m to tackle the issue of rising rolls and provide new, high quality classrooms for our pupils.

The rapid rise in the school population is a problem facing local authorities across the UK. It is a real challenge for us here in Edinburgh, but it’s a challenge that we are meeting. No other council in Scotland has taken such an innovative and collaborative approach to tackling this issue or invested as much.

“It is a further demonstration that whether it is delivering entirely new buildings, extending existing buildings or reconfiguring space, the Capital Coalition is committed to providing the very best educational environment for our pupils.”

Richard Park, Operations Director, Hub South East Scotland Ltd, said: “I am proud to be marking the third successful year working in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council to tackle the issue of rising school rolls.

“In total we’ve now delivered 14 extensions on time and on budget through this innovative programme, providing quality, long term classrooms to tight timescales. These modern facilities have had extremely positive feedback from staff and pupils and we look forward to working on future phases, continuing this successful,collaborative effort.”

Allan Lyttle, Construction Manager, Morrison Construction, said:  “Through working collaboratively with the City of Edinburgh Council, Hub South East Scotland Ltd and our wider supply chain, we have successfully together, for the third consecutive year, completed the construction of extensions to existing classroom space across the city.

“Completion of the third phase of this programme highlights the exemplary success of the Rising Rolls programme, and we are delighted to have once again delivered facilities for the pupils and staff to operate in which are now fit for purpose.  We wish all schools and their pupils a very successful academic year in the brand new facilities.”

Eight primary schools have already been identified by the City of Edinburgh Council as potentially having accommodation issues for August 2016 due to rising school rolls - Balgreen, East Craigs, Ferryhill, Fox Covert, Granton, Roseburn, St Mary’s RC (Leith) and Towerbank.  

The solution identified for Towerbank is a catchment review and the outcome of the statutory consultation process which has recently been undertaken will be reported to Council in October. 

The solution identified for the other seven schools is either to provide entirely new accommodation or undertake internal reconfiguration of the exiting school buildings. Discussions have already started with the other school communities to progress the designs for these should they be required.

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