Castlebrae school axed after consultation flop

Pupils protested against the school's closure last October. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Pupils protested against the school's closure last October. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A FAILING city high school is set to shut its doors for the final time in the summer after a consultation into its closure attracted fewer than 50 responses.

A report on Castlebrae Community High School in Craigmillar is set to be considered at a full council meeting next month, with councillors expected to rubber-stamp the decision to close from July.

Free transport is set to be provided to pupils being relocated to Portobello and the city is also set to fund new school uniforms. A new school for the area has been promised by 2020.

The Evening News first revealed last September how Castlebrae was facing closure following poor exam results and a falling school roll.

Director of children and families Gillian Tee said: “I am recommending the closure of Castlebrae Community High School as, with all things considered, I strongly believe that pupils will receive a better education elsewhere. This is not a recommendation which has been made lightly.

“Should the closure be agreed, we will work tirelessly to ensure tthe best outcome for the young people of Castlebrae and the wider community.”

Castlebrae now has a school roll of just 165 pupils, including 17 in S1, with many parents already choosing to send their children elsewhere.

The council report recommends that current Castlebrae pupils would be offered a place at Portobello High, although parents could choose elsewhere if places are available.

Officers recommended that free home to school transport is provided for the new Portobello pupils, as well as proposing that £10,000 be made available for replacement uniforms.

The report also sets out how activities currently running at Castlebrae will be provided elsewhere in the community.

The consultation included various meetings and a consultation exercise involving more than 400 pupils, with almost 1100 pupils taking part in online surveys.

Despite an initial Save Castlebrae campaign, responses were received from just 43 different groups, organisations or individuals – 37 of which objected to the closure.

Money to be ring-fenced for new secondary

IF the closure of Castlebrae is approved and the school demolished, council officers have recommended that any income arising from the disposal of the site is ring-fenced towards the cost of delivering a new secondary school in Craigmillar.

Funding of £618,000 has already been set aside for the initial design costs for the new high school, which is expected to open in August 2020.