Glencorse Primary School: consultation
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main purpose of the proposal?
The main purpose of the proposal is to enter into formal consultation to discontinue Primary Education Provision at Glencorse Primary School from 25th June 2021. We are also consulting on extending the catchment areas of Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools to enable existing pupils and new pupils to attend these schools. We must consult following the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.
Why are you considering closing a school now with all the house building in Penicuik?
As you probably know, Midlothian is one of the fastest growing local authorities in Scotland. Midlothian Council has a Learning Estate Strategy which was introduced in 2017 which plans for this increase over time and the school buildings we need. This document is updated when required. The document is on Midlothian Council website:
Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools already educate a number of the children who may have attended Glencorse. There is enough capacity at Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools to meet current demand. There are plans in place to expand both schools to meet the additional capacity for Early Years Expansion and the growth in pupil population which will arise from housing development.
In the longer term, further work will be undertaken to consider the potential new primary school in Auchendinny and whether this should be changed, as larger schools are recommended in the Learning Estate Strategy. When we do this, we will also consider other schools’ capacity.
One of the options we did consider was mothballing Glencorse Primary School, which would mean it would have closed but with the potential of reopening if required. The feedback from parents, carers and other stakeholders was not positive on this option.
Would Glencorse Primary School be needed to accommodate children from other schools due to social distancing requirements during the Covid19 pandemic?
Scottish Government Guidance states:
"On the basis of the scientific advice, and subject to all other risk mitigation measures... there is no requirement for physical distancing between children in primary schools."
There is therefore no requirement for the extra space in Glencorse PS to be used for COVID purposes.
Are there any plans to build any more new primary schools in the area for all the new housing?
Yes, there are outline plans for a school in Auchendinny linked to the new house building there. However, this option will be reviewed and reflected in the Learning Estate Strategy (PDF). Other potential schools are outlined in the Strategy.
Why is the proposal happening now? Why can’t it wait until the new secondary school near Bilston is agreed and built, or until a decision on the new primary school in Auchendinny is taken?
The timescales for these other schools are not imminent. However, we welcome your thoughts on this and we will ensure any feedback relating to this is carefully considered. We want to provide clear information about the future of Glencorse Primary School to support pupils commencing and continuing their education and to help them make informed choices.
How will future catchment areas be affected?
It is proposed that the catchment areas of both Mauricewood and Roslin Primary Schools are extended to cover the existing catchment area of Glencorse Primary School.
Who will make the final decision about the proposal and why is there only one option to close as opposed to increasing the size of the school roll through effective marketing?
While it is Midlothian Council’s Children, Young People and Partnership Directorate that is conducting the consultation, it is for the elected councillors on Midlothian Council to decide following the conclusion of the statutory consultation period. They will be asked at a meeting of the full Midlothian Council to adopt the proposal, withdraw it or seek to consult on another proposal.
The statutory consultation is designed to encourage maximum participation. This will allow the views of all members of the community to be included in the Consultation Report which will be used by councillors to make an informed decision.
The Education (Scotland) Act 1980 places a legislative duty on the Council to ensure the adequate and efficient provision of school education across its area and it must consult on certain changes in such arrangements before it can commit to delivering them. The Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 sets out the statutory consultation that must be undertaken when proposing a permanent change to any of our schools.
The principle of the Act is “... to provide strong, accountable statutory consultation practices and procedures that local authorities must apply to their handling of all proposals for school closures and other major changes to schools.”
The statutory consultation process must be based on a proposal that is viable and deliverable and represents the very best educational outcomes for its young people.
From previous experience, it is not believed that the school roll for Glencorse will increase enough to support the best educational outcomes for its children and young people.
Why are the cost savings not taken into account as part of the decision making process?
The Act indicates we can provide information on costs but decision-making should be as described above, and based on what supports the best educational outcomes for young people.
What will happen to the staff currently in the school?
Staff will be fully consulted and supported to consider employment in alternative educational settings within Midlothian.
What will happen to the school building and the land if this proposal goes ahead? Will it be sold or used for another council purpose? Could it be deemed suitable for asset transfer to the community?
The Council has an agreed process for this. The Directorate that operates the premises will consider if they require the building or land for another purpose. If not, they declare it surplus, and other Directorates in the Council can put together a business case for its use. If the Council has is no use for it, it can be considered for sale.
The Council is looking at how we can use the teaching spaces not needed for current pupils at Glencorse for other educational needs that are short of suitable accommodation.
The Council has a team of people who can support those groups who qualify and wish to put in a note of interest for community asset transfer. There is a more information on the Council website on asset transfer, the process and business cases required.
Why do the children of 2 SCOTS families not attend this school as historically it was the school that hosted most army families?
In liaison with the Armed Forces, the catchment area school for 2 SCOT families is Mauricewood. This decision was made a number of years ago and was informed by the number of pupil places required - which was over 100 and could not all be accommodated at Glencorse. The preference was to have all children attend the same school.
Some parents have said that they felt discouraged from enrolling in Glencorse Primary School. Has the Council discouraged enrolments?
There has been no Education directive to discourage parents enrolling their children at Glencorse. When enquiring about enrolling their child, parents have been informed of the pupil numbers at Glencorse, and this may have led to them enrolling their child elsewhere.
If the school does close what transition arrangements would be put in place for the children and families?
There are very good transition arrangements in place for P7 transition across Midlothian and those pupils changing schools. These will be followed and developed further, tailoring to the needs of the individual pupils changing schools, if the proposal to discontinue education provision at Glencorse is approved.
Will transporting pupils to either Mauricewood or Roslin increase our impact on Climate Change?
School transport will be provided for all children affected where:
- there is no safe walking route to school
- or the distance from home to school is more than two miles.
Therefore not everyone may need transport. If the proposal goes ahead we are committed to ensuring safe routes to school, and to addressing the carbon neutral plan.
How will children get the right support they need in an increased class size?
Children moving school will be supported with a tailored transition plan to support them in the initial transition but also in their ongoing education. This will take into account: good practice, educational principles, managing change, small group work, learning support needs and confidence levels.