Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Council in Edinburgh Gaelic school pupils U-turn

Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce Image copyright Google
Image caption Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce opened in 2013

Pupils at a Gaelic primary have been guaranteed a place at their preferred high school following a council U-turn.

Children at Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce in Edinburgh had been told they would not be automatically entitled to a place at James Gillespie's High because of the increasing school roll.

Now education bosses have agreed to accommodate pupils who wish to continue their education at the high school.

Officials are now looking at ways to cope with the extra pupils.

Edinburgh city council said the move would only cover next year.

Academic performance

Parents had objected to children, who do not live within Gillespie's normal catchment area, being offered a place at Tynecastle High School, which also has Gaelic facilities.

Critics claim the Gaelic facilities there are inferior to Gillespie's. Some have also highlighted the school's relatively poor academic performance, although its catchment area includes some of the most deprived parts of the city.

Currently Gillespie's can take 220 pupils from the Gaelic primary school, but predictions have shown that about 229 pupils would apply for next year.

Paul Godzik, Edinburgh city council's convener of the education, children and families committee, said: "Having received further advice from the head teacher we will ensure that all qualifying catchment P7 pupils, including those from Taobh na Pairce, are able to attend James Gillespie's High School for the August 2016/17 session.

"Also, given the pressures on Gillespie's in future years due to their rising school roll and other factors, we will also consult on arrangements for secondary Gaelic medium education from August 2017.

"Since we opened Taobh na Pairce in 2013 we have seen an increase in families choosing Gaelic medium education for their children and we now have to look carefully at how this is developed in a sustainable way."

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