Councillors in East Lothian have approved proposals to create a new single primary school in Prestonpans providing education from nursery through to primary 7.

We believe that this will provide the best outcomes for our children and school staff in Prestonpans

The single school will operate from the current buildings occupied by Prestonpans Infant and Nursery School and Prestonpans Primary School sites. The decision was taken at a meeting of East Lothian Council today.

Prestonpans is the only catchment area in East Lothian where Nursery to P3 and P4-P7 are taught across two schools. The proposal to move to a single school model was put forward to introduce a seamless transition throughout the school, improving progression and educational outcomes for pupils. This continuity, supported by a unified operational and management structure, is also likely to reduce possible risk of a slowing down of progress as children move through the first level of Curriculum for Excellence. Children can develop and sustain relationships with their peers and school staff throughout their years in primary school. In its response to the consultation, Education Scotland noted the potential educational benefits and opportunities for greater curricular coherence.

Cabinet member for Education Councillor Shamin Akhtar said: “First and foremost we have to ensure that we are supporting the children of Prestonpans by providing them with the best educational outcomes. The establishment of one single school will help build upon the positive environment in the school communities and help support even more effective learning and teaching that is best matched to the needs of the children across all the stages. It will offer a smoother pathway for children and their families, create a more cohesive curriculum and improve educational and pastoral care under a single staff structure. This was our primary purpose in making this important decision today. We believe that this will provide the best outcomes for our children and school staff in Prestonpans as it does elsewhere in the county.”

The move to a single school will involve the ‘closure’ in name only of Prestonpans Infant School and Prestonpans Primary School, with the new single school due to open in February 2019. The decision to close both schools and establish a new school will now need to be ratified by Scottish Government.

While the Prestonpans Early Learning and Childcare Centre will be managed by the headteacher of the single school, the centre will remain as a separate establishment and will not be affected by the implementation of this proposal.

Published: Tuesday, 11th December 2018