South Morningside Primary named best in Scotland

IT’S the super-size school where surging rolls have forced teachers to spread classes over multiple sites – and now it’s been named best in Scotland.
Headteacher Liz Grierson celebrates with pupils from South Morningside Primary. Picture: Ian GeorgesonHeadteacher Liz Grierson celebrates with pupils from South Morningside Primary. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Headteacher Liz Grierson celebrates with pupils from South Morningside Primary. Picture: Ian Georgeson

South Morningside Primary is celebrating making it into Tatler magazine’s latest ranking of the top 12 state schools in Britain.

Editors at the high-society bible said researchers had included the school – the only primary in Scotland to be included – after looking at factors including pupil performance, teaching methods and facilities.

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They said South Morningside had emerged as one of a number of council-run schools attracting parents struggling to afford rising fees at 
private institutions.

The new guide tells readers: “These days, the smuggest mummies aren’t those at the gates of the shiny preps – they’re the ones who’ve snagged a place at the best state primaries.”

Hosting a roll of around 630, South Morningside is one of the Capital’s most cramped schools, with education chiefs recently agreeing to spend nearly £700,000 on kitting out a new annexe at 
Deanbank Resource Centre.

Headteacher Liz Grierson said success in the Tatler ranking was due to a willingness to embrace innovation and a close-knit parent community.

She said: “We have worked very creatively and phenomenally hard to bring together 630 children to give them a sense of belonging and a pride in their school. Maybe because we have the challenge of operating over different sites, we try harder. We have a very special catchment and a very strong community, and we’re obviously blessed and fortunate in that our parents really care.”

Delighted mums and dads hailed teachers for their efforts despite dealing with chronic overcrowding.

Craig Hilton, chair of the parent council, said: “Teachers work very hard in quite a trying environment and this is a credit to them – they do a huge amount to make sure that [accommodation issues] do not impact on the school or the kids. I would like to think [Tatler’s guide] is based on that teaching rather than the area or something like that.”

James Gillespie’s High, meanwhile, was the only Scottish secondary to win a spot in the UK list.

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Headteacher Donald MacDonald said: “We have a reputation as being a great school and that has continued through the years. We also have a very engaged and supportive group of parents who make demands and work very closely with us.”

The guide’s authors said their ranking was based on an in-depth examination of schools’ strengths and weaknesses.

Editor Georgina Blackwell said: “We use a number of researchers for the guide and base our decision on whether a school is included on a whole range of factors – from exam results and facilities, to that all-important, indefinable Tatler buzz.”