School merger informal consultation extended

The Informal Consultation being carried out by the City of Edinburgh Council on a proposed merger of Wester Hailes Education Centre and Currie Community High School has been extended until Thursday 29 March 2018.

The proposal, revealed in November as part of the Edinburgh Schools Review, would see WHEC join with Currie High School to form a new West Edinburgh High school on a new site.

The reasons given for the proposal are:

  • The Currie High School building needs to be replaced due to its condition
  • The buildings at WHEC are in poor condition and need a lot of investment.
  • 14% of WHEC’s catchment pupils already go to Currie High School, only 49% go to WHEC.
  • WHEC has a roll of 300 pupils and space for 750. The S1 intake at WHEC in August 2017 was 66 pupils. Projections suggest WHEC’s roll may be 366 by 2030. WHEC’s roll peaked at 576 in 1999 but has been in decline ever since.
  • WHEC has a small catchment area and combining Currie High and WHEC would provide a more diverse catchment area.

The new South West Edinburgh High would be built either on the Curriemuirend site which was formerly proposed for housing and is currently the location of Curriemuirend Park, on a greenfield site just north of Baberton or in Hailes Quarry Park. WHEC and Currie High School would then close in August 2022 with pupils moved to the new school.

As part of the informal consultation the City of Edinburgh Council has been meeting with the affected communities, including representatives of the local community and parent councils of affected feeder schools, over the previous months.

The Council is keen to point out that no decisions have been made and that current consultation is being used to find the areas people are interested in knowing more about, areas already identified include the impact on local roads and travel. The results of the informal consultation will be presented to the Education, Children and Families Committee where the decision of whether to progress to any statutory consultation will be made.

The proposal has proven controversial with over 2500 people signing a petition launched by local resident Aaron Aitken to keep WHEC open.

Aaron argues

WHEC has been the central point of the Wester Hailes community for almost 40 years and if these proposals became a reality it will completely disturb the locals as many families use WHEC for more than a school. Adult classes and recreational uses of the gym and swimming pool would also be put in jeopardy.

Be sure to comment on the City of Edinburgh Council School Review website and have your say heard.

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