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June 4, 2008

Parent power forces Council into rethink

Once renowned as the largest school in the country, the physical structure of Portabello High School in Edinburgh is no longer fit for purpose. The question of where a new school should be sited has sparked a long running dispute between the local community and the Council which may now be reaching its conclusion. PFANS (Parents For A New School) have fought a long and sometimes acrimonious campaign


A local parents’ campaign for a new high school for Portobello in Edinburgh is pressing Edinburgh Council to identify a funding solution to replace the existing 8 storey school, now widely regarded as at the end of its life. The establishment of a Community Trust is one of the options the PFANS (Parents for a New School) is urging should be explored to allow the school to be rebuilt on a site at the corner of Portobello Park – the overwhelming popular site for the new school was agreed following a community consultation last year.

Hundreds of pupils and parents from both the High School and the feeder primaries have backed the campaign. A recent competition for pupils to design the new school drew over 300 entries, with Sir Tom Farmer and Kenny Macaskill judging the entries. The entries formed the basis for an exhibition at Portobello Town Hall visited by hundreds of local residents. Students of the local Queen Margaret University also worked with high school pupils to produce a DVD to support the campaign which featured on both STV and BBC evening news and was sent to MSPs and councillors.

The campaign has succeeded in maintaining a high level of media and political profile for the campaign with questions in Parliament, delegations to council and frequent news stories. However, progress has been hampered by a dispute between the Council and the Scottish Government over funding and a clear solution is yet to be found. The council is due to debate the business case on June 26th. In the meantime, support is welcome. Contact PFANS Support