A multi-million pound spend to ease chronic overcrowding in Edinburgh schools is being put to the test as 23 brand new classrooms were unveiled to pupils on the first day of term. This is from the Edinburgh News…
The Capital, thanks to its planning laws and a soaring population, has Scotland’s most overcrowded primary schools and pupil numbers are set to jump by nearly a fifth over the next seven years.
But education chiefs today said the problem of cramped schools was being brought under control and hailed the new classrooms as the first step towards a better future for Edinburgh’s primaries.
Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “Many local authorities across the United Kingdom are struggling to find sustainable solutions to the increase in pupil numbers.
“In Edinburgh, primary school rolls are predicted to rise by 19 per cent by 2020 – bringing our primary school population to over 31,000. That’s why the Capital Coalition has pledged an extra £15m to tackle the issue. The foundations we are laying here in Edinburgh demonstrate that the Capital is prepared for the complex challenges that lie ahead. We believe our approach allows us the flexibility to plan much better for the future, and we are working with school communities and parent councils as we move forward.”
Education bosses said their latest investment would mean the creation of up to 750 new pupil spaces across the city, with a further five schools – Victoria, Liberton, Craigour, Broughton and St David’s – earmarked for possible expansion in time for the 2014-15 session. And with the help of revised planning mechanisms designed specifically to deal with the issue of rising rolls, education leaders said they would be able to respond more efficiently and flexibly to demand for new teaching space.
They said that when schools are identified as possible candidates for extra accommodation for the next school year, the relevant design and planning permissions would automatically be taken forward, but the decisive green light would only be given when final pupil registration numbers are confirmed.
Parents and opposition leaders welcomed the investment but said the Capital was far from solving the problem of cramped primaries and attacked the loss of non-core and general teaching space as city leaders scramble to provide more classrooms.
If you (or your children) are starting the new school year in these (or any other) temporary classrooms, please tell us what they are like and what impact you expect them to have on learning…