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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
City schools earmarked to be shut
Drumbrae Primary School
Drumbrae Primary is one of the earmarked schools
More than two dozen schools, nurseries and community centres have been earmarked for closure in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Council has revealed a hitlist of 22 schools including 13 primaries, three secondaries and six nurseries, plus four community centres.

The council said primary school rolls had fallen by a fifth in 10 years.

It said it wants to concentrate children in a smaller number of high standard schools and ensure public money is used more efficiently.

Parents are to be consulted in the coming months on the controversial plan.

You cannot do as has been suggested here and shut 22 schools and four community centres in nine months
Ewan Aitken
Labour leader opposition in council

While many council schools are oversubscribed others are less popular. A 10th of secondaries and a third of primaries have large numbers of unfilled places.

Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, Edinburgh Council education and children families convenor, said: "Our aim is for all young people in Edinburgh to receive a first class education in high quality buildings that are fit for purpose and meet the needs of learners in the 21st Century.

"We want to increase the number of pupils attending new or refurbished schools and generate extra funding by reducing the number of surplus places and reinvest money saved in buildings and services for children and families.

"Education funding is based on the number of pupils in a school and it is important that the funds we receive from the Scottish Executive are used wisely.

"Our priority is to improve the whole educational experience, rather than spending money on running and maintaining half-empty buildings."


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Gillian Tee, director of Edinburgh Council's children and families department, said: "We have carried out a major review of the city's school and educational properties.

"Staff gathered information such as where our pupils live, where they go to school and what impact new housing developments may have in the future.

"Based on the data, some difficult decisions are required so that we can balance the number of school places in each area with the number of pupils living there."

The leader of the Labour opposition on the council, councillor Ewan Aitken, told BBC Radio Scotland that it was crucial to phase-in closures.

He said: "There certainly is a big challenge to be met, we knew that and we set out to do that in the previous administration and we did some of the tasks but it is a task you need to take time over.

"You cannot do as has been suggested here and shut 22 schools and four community centres in nine months.

"The emotional attachment to schools and what it does to communities is just so enormous you need to take your time and you need to make sure folk are taken with you, you need to do it slowly and carefully.

"They need to know how this is going to benefit their children, how the money is going to be reinvested and they need to know they have been heard."

News of the closures came just days into the new term

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