Glencorse Primary School: consultation

Current education provision at Glencorse Primary School

Glencorse Primary School is situated in the Penicuik settlement, on Grahams Road, in Milton Bridge, 1.8 miles from Penicuik town centre. Due to its proximity to Penicuik town centre it is not classified as a rural school. The school serves the Milton Bridge area of Penicuik and the village of Auchendinny. A map of the catchment area.

The school previously also served the Glencorse Barracks. That changed in 2006 when the Army moved a regiment to Glencorse and this required Midlothian to provide capacity for approximately 100 primary pupils. At the time Glencorse Primary School had 54 pupils on its roll and it was decided it could not accommodate this level of growth in its pupil population. Mauricewood Primary School became the catchment school for the Glencorse Barracks. This change will have had an impact on the Glencorse school roll but the school building on its current site was then, and is now, not capable of providing the required capacity.

Glencorse was built in 1875 and is a traditional, stone-built, 2-storey building, surrounded by a walled, fenced play area. The school building is well maintained and is rated satisfactory (B) for condition. There are four classrooms, a PE hall and an ICT suite in the main building with the dining hall located in a separate building.  The school has capacity for 100 primary pupils. The school site measures 1,856 square metres, which is less than the 6,000 square metres for a school of this size as specified by the School Premises (Scotland) Regulations 1967.

The school does not have a nursery and in recent years some families have cited this as one of the reasons they chose an alternative primary school for their child. However the school site is not large enough to provide space for a nursery and to date there has been sufficient provision of early learning and childcare places across Penicuik at other local authority and partner provider settings.

There are approximately 540 dwellings in the catchment of Glencorse Primary School. In August 2020 there are 78 primary-aged children residing in the area and attending a Midlothian primary school. Almost all the pupils resident in the Glencorse catchment currently attend other primary schools, with only 7 pupils currently attending Glencorse within one composite P4-P7 class.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) sits at the heart of what Midlothian Council is committed to achieving in terms of raising attainment and achievement, and improving educational outcomes for all children. CfE is intended to nurture successful, effective, confident and responsible children, able to learn and utilise learning in a way that helps them reach their full potential and to respond to the increased variety and pace of change in today’s and tomorrow’s world.

Whilst the Education Service of Midlothian Council recognises the quality of education provision offered at Glencorse Primary School, it considers that the very small number of children attending Glencorse Primary School will benefit more from the wider range and breadth of learning experiences available to them within other learning environments and within a wider peer group at their age and stage. This will also ensure that the children will have parity of access to learning and opportunities offered within larger establishments with the remaining children being placed at alternative schools of their choice.

Children from the Glencorse catchment area who attend other schools in the Beeslack High School Associated School Group continue to benefit from education in a locality familiar to them, and still relatively close to home.

Distance from Glencorse Primary School

  • Bilston Primary School: 2 miles, via A701
  • Mauricewood Primary School: 0.9 miles, via Stevenson Road
  • Roslin Primary School: 2.1 miles, via A701

Most of the families who have made a choice other than Glencorse for their children’s primary school have chosen Mauricewood Primary School, which has a roll of 335 pupils, or Roslin Primary School, which has a roll of 202 pupils.  In August 2020 almost all children residing in the Glencorse catchment are attending an alternative primary school, with most of these attending either Mauricewood Primary School, 33, or Roslin Primary School, 29.

There is evidence that the choice of nursery gives some indication of the probable future choice of primary school. In respect of the children residing in the Glencorse catchment, 23 attended the nursery and subsequently enrolled at Mauricewood Primary school and 10 attended the nursery and subsequently enrolled at Roslin Primary School.

The history of the pupil roll of Glencorse since 1996

The roll of the school has fallen over recent years from 82 pupils in 1998 to today’s pupil roll of 7 pupils. This is the third consecutive year where families have decided to make a choice other than Glencorse for their children who are starting primary school, as a result, the school has had no Primary 1 intake since 2017. This recent expression of parental choice which resulted in no Primary 1 intake at Glencorse in 2018, coincided with the opening of the new Roslin Primary School building. In that year 9 of the 11 Glencorse catchment Primary 1 pupils chose to attend Roslin, indicating that parents have sometimes made choices based on the availability of newer school provision in the area.

There is a committed housing development in Auchendinny, which is within the Glencorse catchment area. The indicative size of this development is 350 houses which it is estimated will, in due course, give rise to 108 pupils of primary school age. That combined with 78 children of primary school age currently residing in the school’s catchment will give over 180 children, a greater number than can be accommodated in the Glencorse school building. As the site of the school is constrained and is not large enough to provide the necessary accommodation, should all pupils from current and planned housing in the catchment choose to attend, the Midlothian Local Development Plan 2017 provides for this new housing development to be accommodated in a new primary school to be built in Auchendinny.

The Council’s Learning Estate Strategy 2017 – 2047 cautions against the building of smaller primary schools, with capacity for up to 210 pupils, and prefers a model with larger primary schools which are more sustainable, particularly in non-rural areas.  It is therefore preferable to progress a solution for the Glencorse Primary School community aligned to the preference for larger primary schools, rather than proceeding with plans to build a small stand-alone primary school in the village of Auchendinny.

The council is looking at a number of alternative options for the future long term provision of primary schooling for the Glencorse catchment, these include:

  • Rezoning Glencorse to Mauricewood Primary School and further extending that school building;
  • Rezoning Glencorse to Roslin Primary School and extending that school building;
  • Adding primary stages of education to Beeslack High School and incorporating this into the planned project to replace that school building.

All of these options would lead to the closure of Glencorse Primary School.

Pre-consultation meetings were held with staff and parents in January 2020. In June 2020 officers of the council held a virtual parental engagement meeting and subsequently wrote to parents offering them the option to mothball the school from October 2020 or June 2021 to allow time to develop and agree on the optimal solution for primary school provision for the Glencorse catchment and to defer undertaking statutory consultation on closure of the school. None of the parents of the 7 children currently attending the school agreed to the proposal to mothball the school.

Consequently on 25 August 2020 at full Council the Executive Director Children, Young People & Partnerships was authorised to undertake statutory consultation on the proposal to permanently discontinue primary education at Glencorse Primary School and to extend the catchment areas of the neighbouring primary schools to include the Glencorse catchment area.

The closure of Glencorse Primary School will directly affect the following schools and is considered in this proposal:

  • Glencorse Primary School
  • Mauricewood Primary School
  • Roslin Primary School

The following schools will be indirectly affected by the proposal:

  • Beeslack High School
  • Bilston Primary School

The factors which have been considered in the development of this proposal are:

  • The responsibilities associated with the National Improvement Framework and the new duties imposed on Education Authorities by the Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc Act 2000 as amended by the 2016 Act.
  • The agreed principles underpinning the development of an empowered school led system set out in the ‘Education Bill Policy Ambition - Joint Agreement’, June 2018
  • The duties placed on local authorities in relation to the adequate and efficient provision of school education in their area
  • The duties placed on local authorities to secure best value in the delivery of services

If approved, implementation of the proposal will mean:

  • The closure of Glencorse Primary School
  • The transition of all current pupils to Mauricewood, Roslin Primary School or Beeslack High School depending on the timescale of the proposed closure.

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