School closure consultation
Latest on plans for four city primaries
Latest figures on Edinburgh’s school population show there are 8,600 empty places in our primaries, meaning the Council must spend scarce funds running schools well below capacity.
Many popular schools fill up to maximum capacity every year but others experience much lower demand, with the occupancy rate in some cases as low as 40 per cent.
Officials, therefore, recommend that four primaries with low pupil numbers be closed. This will enable the Council to make best use of the money available for the education of all pupils in the city.
A public consultation process has begun over proposals to close Burdiehouse, Drumbrae, Fort and Royston Schools. All have rolls of 41 per cent or less of each building’s capacity.
It is proposed the four identified be closed next summer, taking the number of Council-run primary schools to 87.
Pupils would be offered places at another school near where they live, although parents would retain the right to apply for their child to attend any school.
The Council believes the closures can also bring educational benefits to the pupils involved by widening the learning opportunities and experiences of the pupils in the under-occupied schools.
Funds from the proposed closures would also be used to support improvements in nursery provisions at three of the receiving schools – Gracemount, Clermiston and Granton Primary Schools.
The Council is now consulting on proposals to close the four primary schools. A report setting out the reasons and the impact this will have on the catchments of neighbouring schools has been prepared for each.
These reports can be found on the council website at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/cfpropertyreview or you can request a copy by phoning 0131 529 2108.
During the consultation period – until 16 October – two public meetings will be held for each closure proposal. Dates can be found on the website. You can send in your own written comments on the proposals.
A report will go to the Council meeting on 17 December when a final decision will be taken.
School closures – facts and figures
In Edinburgh in 2008/09 there were:
- 133,189 places in our primary schools
- 124,610 primary pupils
- 18,579 empty seats
In 2008/09, the four schools proposed for closure had:
- 1,270 places available
- 486 pupils
- 784 empty seats
Closing these schools would reduce the number of empty primary seats by 14.8 per cent.
Around £1.6m of potential expenditure on building maintenance is avoided if the schools are closed.
Surveys show expected maintenance costs over five years of:
- £762,000 at Burdiehouse
- £280,000 at Royston
- £508,000 at Drumbrae
Maintenance cost of Fort is forecast at £185,000 but is not included in this saving as other uses will be found for the building.
Savings of £0.962m made in the previous round of school closures helped to protect school budgets across the city from direct cuts in 2008/09.