Parents' fury as extension work on cramped Portobello school delayed by a year

PARENTS have hit out at council bosses for delaying a promised extension to a school which can "barely cope" with the number of pupils.

Work to increase the accommodation at Towerbank Primary in Portobello was due to start next year, but council chiefs have admitted the project will be delayed by at least a year.

Council bosses approved 4.1 million funding for the extension at Towerbank and Corstorphine primaries earlier this year.

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The money will be spent on creating much-needed extra classrooms and dining areas.

While work was due to get under way at Towerbank next year, with a completion date scheduled for 2011, it has emerged that construction will not actually start until 2011.

Parents are worried that the school, which is "bursting at the seams" with 470 pupils, will not be able to cope until then. They say they have already waited too long for an extension and are angry the project has been put back further.

Sean Watters, chair of Towerbank Parent Council, said: "(The school roll] has increased each year for the last four years. We are already operating as a 17-class school, having sacrificed much-needed general purpose support spaces.

"Come next August we will require at least 18 classes.

"There is no more space to sacrifice. The site and ancillary accommodation can barely cope as it is.

"Delivery of the curriculum is already being undermined, and this is likely to worsen.

"Detailed consideration is urgently required as to how the school will operate from next August until the likely completion of the extension, and beyond."

Portobello and Craigmillar councillor Maureen Child has asked education bosses to provide a report outlining exactly when Towerbank will get its extension and how the school will cope with accommodation constraints in the meantime.

She said: "It seems to have gone on and on for some time.

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"It's not just about the timescale, but about how to accommodate in the meantime with a growing population of primary school children.

"It's bursting at the seams and with lots of families moving into the area and the superb reputation of the school, it's only going to get busier.

"The timescales seem to be slipping and it's really important that we get on with it as soon as possible."

Both Cllr Child and the parent council are also concerned about the impact the delay will have on the Towerbank After School Club as they fear it will have nowhere to operate come August next year.