Parents at Burnbrae Primary School are angry with Midlothian Council over its handling of plans to move some of the pupils to a new campus.
In response to the growing number of children from the Hopefield housing development and other local developments, councillors last month agreed to approve the construction of a joint campus on the former Hopefield Primary School site, to be shared with St Mary’s RC.
Burnbrae Primary Parent Council has put out a survey on the proposed move for around half the pupils to the new campus, despite Burnbrae itself only opening in 2012.
Among the eight questions asked are if early years 1-3, senior years 4-7 or one of the two 1-7 steams should make the move.
They are also asked if they would like the decision to be based on catchment areas.
The Advertiser was made aware of concerns from at least a dozen parents about the plans.
They included Tracy Innes. She said: “I just think the whole thing has been managed so badly. Nothing has been communicated through the school. It’s just the parent council. So unless you hear through word of mouth or Facebook you are not going to know about this.
“The whole thing is just nonsense that we are even being asked these questions.
“For every other school it works on the catchment so why can’t we just have that here? What makes it even worse is the council are handing it over to the parents to decide who stays and goes.
“You can imagine how that’s going down with parents and the claws are out.
“Shame on the council for putting a community against
Tracy’s daughter Sky Innes (8) has been a pupil at the school since it opened in 2012.
“I just think it’s unsettling her education. I want her to do the best that she can with the tools that she has and this is another disruption that she doesn’t need.
“I don’t want her to be uprooted again.
“When we moved into the Hopefield Estate I never once though she wouldn’t be able to do her full seven years in the one school.
“I don’t like the idea of her moving. She sees it very much as her school and part of her community. I don’t think it’s fair for her to move.”
Another parent Caroline Spence said: “I just think it’s really bad the way it has been handled. We first found out about it on Facebook.
“I went to the meeting a few weeks ago and the council couldn’t really answer the questions. I just think it’s a big mess to be honest.
“I’m possibly going to have two kids at two different schools. One will be going into P1 when the campus is due to open and one will be going into P6.
“My eldest daughter has made it clear that she doesn’t want to move.
“I think they should leave Burnbrae alone and give the pupils the continuity they need. With the changes in staff recently and all the teething problems they had when it opened it’s not really fair to put it on the pupils again.”
Another parent Laura Smith added: “This is a shambles and the council have to be held responsible. I feel that the parents are suffering because the council have got this fundamentally wrong since the very beginning. The whole thing was a shambles.
“Although we have been consulted now it’s really too little too late.
“We really should have been consulted at the beginning. To me the resolution that they have given is not suitable.
“Nobody had any idea that this would happen.
I went along to the initial meeting recently and the general feeling was that the parents would have preferred that the school was extended.”
However, Burnbrae Primary Parent Council chairperson Tracy Gunn said: “We were made aware of it around about Christmas time and the parent council we are the voice of the parents of the school.
“We have been working really hard with the council, the education board and local councillors on the best way forward.
“We have been doing surveys, keeping parents up to date, just trying to gather as much information is possible about what parents want.
“We will continue to work closely with the council and the education board to try to come up with the best solution.
“I know parents were looking at other options but there isn’t any other options on the table, so it’s now about how we make the campus work for the community.
“The council are listening to what we have got to say, we are in regular talks with the education board and the council.”
A Midlothian Council spokeswoman said: “In response to the growing number of pupils coming from the Hopefield Farm housing development and other developments across Bonnyrigg and Lasswade, Councillors agreed in February 2017 the following three recommendations: to revise the May 2016 decision and approve the construction of a joint campus on the former Hopefield Primary School site with one stream as nondenominational and one stream as the replacement St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School; to authorise officers to commence formal consultation on the relocation of St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School; and to approve the use of the non-denominational stream of the school as additional capacity for Burnbrae Primary School until such time as it is no longer required.
“The council is currently consulting with staff and parents of children at Burnbrae Primary School on how this extra capacity will be utilised.
“To facilitate this process council officers will be running two main consultation drop in events this week including March 9 from 2-7pm in Lasswade Library.”