Opposition to the possible move of Gaelic Medium Education (GME) to Drummond Community High School has stiffened.
Parent bodies at two primary feeder schools and Drummond itself have each issued strong statements against the proposal by the Council. (You can read the statements here, here and here. A statement from Abbeyhill parents has yet to materialise.)
Parents at Leith Walk Primary School have not only requested that all options for GME at Drummond (‘blended, shared or dedicated’) be dropped at once, but that an informal consultation event with CEC officials on 27 February be cancelled.
Writing on behalf of three most affected schools, the umbrella organisation Drummond Community (DC) today issued a press release accusing the Council of withholding key information. Parents say their own calculations show that, with the arrival of GME pupils at Drummond, the school would reach capacity by 2022.
Thereafter, they say, pupils from Abbeyhill, Leith Walk and Broughton Primary Schools wishing to receive an English Medium Education would be forced to attend either Leith or Trinity Academy. They argue that Drummond would become an exclusively GME school, with most local children excluded.
Drummond Parent Council backs the Gaelic parents’ organisation Comann nam Pàrant Dùn Eìdeann in calling for GME to be strengthened at James Gillespie’s High School before any move elsewhere. They say earlier Council investigations into this subject identified other secondary schools better suited to taking on GME, and that these options should be revisited.
Among other detailed concerns, Broughton primary parents and carers say the proposal would ‘short change locals’, fail to offer a sustainable solution to the complicated matter of GME secondary education at a time of rising school rolls across the entire city, and risk causing tension if one community were to appear to be ‘ousting’ another.
Rachel Guatelli, Vice-Chair of Leith Walk’s Parent Council said in today’s press release, ‘Almost all of our 31 P7s will start attending Drummond this August, with many submitting out-of-catchment requests to do so.
‘Drummond is a fantastic school, focused on positive outcomes and getting it right for every child. The current proposal doesn’t suit anyone and would result in the Council getting it wrong for every child.’
David Sterratt, Chair of Drummond’s Parent Council, argues that ‘Drummond is a great asset for the local community and for pupils from across Edinburgh with additional support needs. We value its diverse, multicultural composition, and its ethos of inclusion, aspiration and ambition for all pupils.
‘Parent Council and the school work together closely, and our school roll is rising. City of Edinburgh Council has not shown us any predictions for the school roll if Gaelic Medium Education comes to the school – we did the sums ourselves.
‘This short-sighted proposal threatens Drummond’s future. We are urging parents to contact their local councillors to listen to our concerns and act on them – we can’t lose a thriving community school.’
UPDATE: The Broughton PS parents' statement linked in paragraph 2 is an amended version. The original can be found here.