East Lothian Council is to conduct a comprehensive review of its school estate to make sure that it is fit for the future and delivering maximum educational benefits for children and young people.

Gathering the views of our communities will be key to this process.

It will also consult with communities and stakeholders to gather their views on East Lothian’s future learning provision. The moves were unamimously approved by councillors at a full council meeting yesterday (28 August 2019). 

East Lothian is one of Scotland’s fastest growing local authority areas, which presents challenges to deliver a modern school estate that can accommodate the increasing population while meeting learners’ needs. The council has already committed £154m in its five-year capital budget to deliver new build, expanded and modernising programmes at education facilities across the county. 

The council’s School Learning Estate Review will consider how the existing capital programme can meet the challenges of population growth and expanded early years’ provision (1140hours), while maintaining and improving existing properties to create environments that support excellence and equity. 

Cabinet spokesperson for Education and Children’s Services, Councillor Shamin Akhtar, said: “We are committed to ensuring our school estate supports all of our learners, and that our communities benefit from excellent educational facilities. Our capital investment programme is already delivering new facilities across the county, including new primary schools in Wallyford and Letham Mains, and expanded facilities in Dunbar Grammar, North Berwick High School, Ross High School and Gullane Primary School.

“The Review will help us to consider the entire learning estate and ensure that we are developing it in an equitable way that meets the needs of our growing population but, more importantly, supports the curriculum, meets the needs of all our learners and our communities. It will enable us to access external funding for ours school estate; as the fastest growing councils in Scotland this is essential.”

The draft Review will be subject to widespread pre-consultation with school communities to gather feedback on the current and future school estate. Open-ended questions will determine views on aspects including views on school facilities, learning environment, activities and clubs and other buildings within the area that they use. Depending on the outcome, a formal consultation programme will be developed on specific elements, if required.

Councillor Akhtar added: “Gathering the views of our communities will be key to this process. I look forward to seeing plans come forward on how we will involve our staff, pupils, parents and wider partners in this important work to create a school estate that is fit-for-purpose and fit for the future.”  

Published: Wednesday, 28th August 2019