Midlothian Council looks again at school building plans

Midlothian Council Debating chamber at Midlothian House, Buccleuch St in Dalkeith 19/2/18
Midlothian Council Debating chamber at Midlothian House, Buccleuch St in Dalkeith 19/2/18

The council is to look at revising its school building and extension programme in a bid to help close a funding gap.

At the full council meeting last week, councillors endorsed work officers are doing to adapt the Learning Estate Strategy.

Among measures that will be explored further is to make the planned new primary at Kippielaw a three-stream rather than a two-stream school, meaning there would be capacity for three classes in each year.

If given the go-ahead, this would ease pressure on King’s Park Primary and allow plans to refurbish the building to be considered at a later date. However, expanding the nursery space for early learning would go ahead as soon as possible.

Councillors heard bringing Newtongrange Primary up to a three-stream school by extending into the park would be challenging.

Instead, officers will investigate making the new planned primary at Easthouses, a three-stream school.

Newtongrange Primary would however still be refurbished and extended to allow it to operate fully as a two-stream school. The nursery space would also be expanded as soon as possible.

To make sure there is enough capacity at Auchendinny, the council is also to look at extending Mauricewood or Roslin primary schools to prepare for the Glencorse Primary School consultation.

These alternatives would be instead of the proposal to replace Glencorse with a single stream primary school.

The Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Jim Muirhead said: “We’ve huge ambitions to deliver a world-class education service for our children and young people.

“The Learning Estate Strategy gives the council clear direction in the short, medium and long term.

“However, we need to have solid funding proposals in place.

“We’re reassured that officers are continuing to explore revised solutions to cut the funding gap down from in excess of £90 million to £74m. Any gap would need to come from borrowing and/or generating capital.”

The total indicative capital cost of providing all the additional primary and secondary school capacity identified in the learning estate strategy is estimated at £312m.

Developer contributions will be available to fund a significant proportion of this expenditure, this is currently estimated to be in the region of £199m.

It is estimated Scottish Government funding would contribute in the region of £31m and the capital grant for Early Years Expansion can fund a further £9m.

Further developments of these plans is being completed and will be reported to full council.