Greens call for halt over Castlebrae school closure

The capital’s Green councillors have called for a halt to plans to close to Castlebrae Community High School in Craigmillar.

Tomorrow (Tuesday 9 October) councillors on Edinburgh’s Education Committee are being asked to approve plans to consult formally on closing the secondary school by the end of the 2012-13 school year.

However, the Green councillors have tabled amendments calling on those plans to be halted on three grounds, which are:

– Confusion as to when a replacement for nearby Portobello High School will be built;

– A lack of any firm commitment as to when a new high school for Craigmillar will be built, if at all;

– The absence of any evidence as to whether the young people at Castlebrae will fare any better educationally in moving to adjacent, much bigger schools.

Green councillor Melanie Main said

“As soon as the Council pulls the trigger to start consultation on closure, it becomes very difficult to turn back the tide. So, when the Labour-SNP Administration makes a decision it needs to be absolutely certain that it is the right path to follow and that it is in the best interests of the children and community.

“There can be no such certainty here. It seems that the Council has jumped the gun, telling parents of its intention to close the school the day before a shock court judgement on land for a new Portobello High School. Since Portobello is one of the main alternatives to Castlebrae, it would be irresponsible to close and bulldoze Castlebrae while the future of Portobello hangs in the air.

“And closing Castlebrae leaves a serious question over longstanding and ambitious plans to regenerate Craigmillar. The Council says that it wants to build a new school for Craigmillar in the future but not when and nor has it earmarked funds. Without a high school it will be so much harder to attract families into the area. We need greater certainty.

“But most important of all are the young people. Would they fare better elsewhere or will they just be scattered to the four winds and get lost in much larger schools? Although Castlebrae is a struggling school I think the community and young people need more from the Council than just throwing in the towel.”