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 Schools "Consultation"?

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SamTyler

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PostSubject: Schools "Consultation"?   Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:51 pm

http://www.midlothianadvertiser.co.uk/news/Shake-up-of-schools-in.5814541.jp

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/latestnews/Residents-set-to-have-their.5822196.jp#4605788

Two articles regarding the cooncils "consultation" of parents about possible changes to school catchment areas (which might include sending children from Mauricewood and Glencorse to Loanhead)
Please remember that they only reason they want your views is so they know what NOT to do!
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PostSubject: Re: Schools "Consultation"?   Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:18 pm

I was reading in the Advertiser about the future problems that the council will have with the schools due to the proposed new houses. So far I have not received any consultation letter from the council despite having 2 kids at both Beeslack and Penicuik High. Anyway, I had a look on the councils website and found the consultation leaflet here http://www.midlothian.gov.uk//Article.aspx?TopicId=6&ArticleId=24795. These are the options that are being offered for the Penicuik secondary schools.

Option 1: Nominate Penicuik High School to be the catchment secondary school for Strathesk Primary School.

Option 2: Nominate Penicuik High School to be the catchment secondary school for pupils residing in the part of the Mauricewood catchment area to the south of Mauricewood Road.

Option 3: Operate one secondary school for the Penicuik area, this could necessitate operating a split site school.

Option 4: Nominate Beeslack High School to be the catchment secondary school for Loanhead and Paradykes Primary Schools.

Option 5: Nominate Penicuik High School to be the catchment secondary school for Loanhead and Paradykes Primary Schools.

I must admit that I definitely do not like the idea of option 3. However, I do not see how option 4 will solve the problem as the new houses that are being built appear to be in the Glencorse catchment area. According the table provided, Beeslack has a capacity of 825 pupils but there are 856 at the moment so it is already over capacity.

I guess the main problem is the new houses that are going to be built behind Mauricewood and Glencorse in the future. In that case I would suggest that Option 1 for Mauricewood primary school “Rezone the 400 planned new units at North West Penicuik to Cuiken or Cornbank.” I presume that any kids in those new houses will also go to Penicuik High but that option doesn’t seem to be covered.

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Murray



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PostSubject: Re: Schools "Consultation"?   Sat Nov 14, 2009 8:08 pm

Leaflet and questionnaire were in Peni High School bags Thursday/Friday.
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PostSubject: Re: Schools "Consultation"?   Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:35 pm

Thanks, I have just spoken to her and you are right enough. It had her name on it and she didn't think she had to pass it on Rolling Eyes

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ambler



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PostSubject: Re: Schools "Consultation"?   Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:29 pm

Admin wrote:

Option 3: Operate one secondary school for the Penicuik area, this could necessitate operating a split site school.

I must admit that I definitely do not like the idea of option 3.

This is my first post on here so I'm sorry to be a bit contraversial, but I was wondering what your reasons are for being opposed to option 3?

I think it's quite a good idea in many ways. Peni High is currently operating a reduced curriculum because of the size of the school role and the number of staff. I don't know for certain, but if Beeslack also has fewer pupils than it was designed for then there may well be a similar situation there.

There are already examples in Scotland of towns of a similar size to Penicuik having a single secondary school on a split site. Cupar and Ellon are two I know about but I'm sure there will be others. Often 1st and 2nd year will be based at one site and years 3-6 at another. The kids don't have to get ferried about between the schools although teachers sometimes do. Pulling resources in this way allows a wider curriculum to be taught and has the added benefit of reducing inter-school rivalries and bringing kids from different parts of the town together.

Of course there is the argument that a smaller school makes for a better experience for the children, so I'm not saying that Option 3 is necessarily the best option. Just wondering why others might be opposed to it.
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PostSubject: Re: Schools "Consultation"?   Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:50 pm

Hi Ambler and welcome to the forum.

I've had quite a few kids at Beeslack over the years and have always been impressed by the way it has been run. I've also seen the difference they can make to a kid who leaves primary barely able to read and write. I have had less experience with Penicuik High and apart from one kid at the moment have only had one other.

Anyway, it worries me that there may be problems for some of the kids having to move from primary to secondary then another move to a different school. Beeslack is very close to where I live and for most of the kids who attend it. Why should they have to move to another school which is much further away?

Beeslack also takes kids from outwith their catchment area so perhaps they could go to Penicuik High. Part of the problem is the new houses that the council agreed could be built at Mauricewood and Glencorse. They were aware that Beeslack was at or above capacity and now they are trying to get the public to sort out the mess of where the prospective new kids should be educated.

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SueDOnym



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PostSubject: Re: Schools "Consultation"?   Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:17 pm

But surely the kids from outwith the Beeslack catchment area are being sent there BECAUSE it's Beeslack - their parents wouldn't choose to send them to Peni High instead, so that's not going to solve the problem. Non-catchment pupils are being sent to Beeslack because of its reputation and its academic record.
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PostSubject: Re: Schools "Consultation"?   Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:51 pm

You're right, if Beeslack has a problem it is that it is over capacity and this will get worse if kids from the new houses end up going there. If those outwith the catchment area are sent to Penicuik High then that will mean Beeslack will no longer be over capacity. The problem is that Penicuik High is under capacity and splitting the schools would increase the number of pupils at Penicuik High thereby justifying the need to keep it open. I think that you will find that one way or another the council will want to do something to increase the number of pupils at Penicuik High.

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ambler



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PostSubject: Re: Schools "Consultation"?   Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:22 pm

Admin wrote:
The problem is that Penicuik High is under capacity and splitting the schools would increase the number of pupils at Penicuik High thereby justifying the need to keep it open.

There are 600 odd pupils at Peni High, so of course you need to either keep it open (by shuffling the catchments) or else expand the capacity of Beeslack to cope with both them and the new kids (which in the currently financial climate is unlikely). Or else do the split-site single school thing.

Incidently, I would have absolutely no problem with my kids walking or getting a bus to an expanded Beeslack as to me a bigger school means a wider curriculum and more opportunities for my kids. I'd be equally happy for them to stay at Peni High, especially if they are able to expand the role.

I went to a huge school (1,500 plus pupils) and had a 20 minute bus ride there and back every day. Such a big school was a bit intimidating at first but you got used to it very quickly and there was a very wide range of subjects taught and a lot of choices and opportunities available. A lot of that was down to the size of the place and the number of teaching staff. I've always thought it pretty daft that a town the size of Penicuik has two high schools.
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PostSubject: Re: Schools "Consultation"?   Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:42 pm

I agree that it is unlikely that Beeslack will be extended. However, as far as split schools are concerned, I find it hard to think of any benefits. It would just seem to be change for the sake of it. If the curriculum was to be expanded, that would need new subjects and new teachers and I am not sure if that is an option.

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ambler



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PostSubject: Re: Schools "Consultation"?   Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:25 am

Admin wrote:
I agree that it is unlikely that Beeslack will be extended. However, as far as split schools are concerned, I find it hard to think of any benefits. It would just seem to be change for the sake of it. If the curriculum was to be expanded, that would need new subjects and new teachers and I am not sure if that is an option.

The point I was trying to make was that in a smaller school you have less choices in what you can take at standard grade and higher. This is because there are fewer teachers (and smaller departments) and pupils, so it is therefore harder to justify running a course if not many pupils want to do it because of timetabling issues etc. For example, at Peni High it is currently not possible to do both French and German at standard grade, and you have to choose to do either Art or Music and History or Geography. Not so great for a kid who loves languages or excels at Music and Art or is good at History and Geography.

I worked in a school years ago where the role had fallen to about 400 (the school was designed to take about 1000) and the options that pupils had when choosing standard grades were pretty limited. At the school I went to you would have some higher classes with only half a dozen pupils in them. This was because there were enough teaching staff and enough slack in the timetable to make this possible.
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