Dunbar Primary Provision

I’ve copied below a link to the Minute of the public meeting held on the 30th January in Dunbar Primary School.  This minute links to the post-it exercise undertaken on the same evening. The entire response will be posted on East Lothian Council website later this week.

I was asked to give the details of the research I referred to during the evening about the advantages of smaller schools. – here are the links 1  2  3 

notes-of-open-meeting-held-in-dunbar-primary-school.doc

20 thoughts on “Dunbar Primary Provision

  1. Having read all the proposals, and the arguments for two seperate schools, I am still of the opinion that an infant/junior school would be the best option for the children of Dunbar. The very fact that the old Primary is situated in a mainly council house area of Dunbar and the new school is likely to be built near the £250,000 plus homes WILL cause a terrible split in the town which will continue way past the children’s primary education. I went to school in Haddington where you have the Infant school and Kings Meadow, an arrangement which works well as the two schools communicate and integrate with each other. Indeed my oldest two children started thier school life here and thrived on it. Teachers and their own professional development should be low on the list of priorities in what type of school to provide. They can make an informed decision before they take up a post with either school and that is their choice. The priority MUST be the children and the community,when this decided.

  2. Karen

    Given the strength of feeling in Dunbar regarding the need to keep the community together I would agree that that the reasons for a infant/primary split in Dunbar might overtake any arguments about transition and staff development. However, if our priority is the children then I cannot see how a P1 intake of 184 will enable us to fulfil our obligations to them and and their parents without seriously compromising the quality of education we provide. Or does the concern about a potential community divide take precedence over that?

  3. I understand the concerns about this very large year group, but having myself been educated at Kings Meadow in the early eighties, I remember the two year groups below had five classes of 32/33 children in them, which would give an approximate year group the close to the size that may happen in Dunbar. These children still had the same education, opportunities etc as the rest of the slightly smaller year groups above them. I myself was in a class of 34. I know that this is not ideal and could be problamatic, but the indication in the reports is that this is an exceptional year group and the trend will decline in the following years. Therefore to base school provision on one possible year group size, which could be accomodated, should again not override the concerns of splitting the town.

  4. Karen

    Thanks for this information. I wasn’t aware of this but I’ve now checked it out. There were 5 classes, with a maximum year group size of 150, in Kingsmeadow Primary at the time you speak of and it was one of the biggest primary schools in Scotland at the time. Apparently the running of the school was not without difficulty. The year group we envisage at Dunbar would be have 34 more pupils. Do you think the risk is worth taking?

  5. Karen

    There is no guarantee that we are talking about a “blip” we have no data beyond that birth year. We can’t plan on the hope that it will not be repeated – especially given the rate of house building in Dunbar.

  6. Don

    I do understand the concerns with the continued house building in Dunbar. In fact the council are proposing a large development here in the near future. But the larger community of Dunbar and the needs of children are very important issues. This is a very difficult decision to be made, but both my boys have experienced bullying to a certain degree in Dunbar and from the way different groups of boys especially interact and form gangs/groups at the moment, a split like the new Primary could make if it is a wholly seperate primary school, will increase this already bad problem.

  7. Karen

    Bullying can of course happen in any school but the bigger the school the more challenging it is for management to ensure consistency of aproach.

    From my experience of schools, bullying is usually done by someone you know and rarely involves children who attend different schools.

  8. As most people in Dunbar who have an expressed an opinion seem to prefer the infant/junior school split to the council’s and your recomended view of a two seperate primary schools, who will make the final choice? Obviously it will go before the Councillors but should the people of Dunbar not be able to make the choice? Rather than “we know best, so do what we say” approach that seems to be happening. I know that there is to be another public meeting even though at the last one it was stated that there would not be another meeting. Is this to try and win round the public before the election?

    I know that this must be decided soon to get the ball rolling so that the school can be built in time, but I feel, as do others, that this is being rushed through so that the peole in Dunbar don’t have time to object or be properly heard.

  9. Will you be attending the next meeting on Thursday? I see the local SNP candidates have decided to support the junior/infant school split. Could be a very interesting meeting.

  10. Hi

    I’m planning on attending tomorrow’s meeting at Dunbar Primary School, as with two small children I’m keen that the right decision is made for both the education of the local kids and for the community. I was wondering if an alternative option for two new schools had ever been considered? This would overcome the concerns within the community about a possible split and would also result in three small schools which, from what you said at one of the last public meetings, would be educationally better in terms of buddy programs, school trips etc etc. This also would allow for futher expansion requirements should any future Development Plans recommend the location of additional housing in Dunbar. Given it’s good rail and transport links surely this is very likely to happen within the next 20 years?

    I’d be keen to find out what your view is on this.

    Thanks

    Gina

  11. Gina

    This has been discussed but given the pressing nature of the population growth in Dunbar there is a need for a second relatively large school now. There is a possibility in the future that we will need to look again at the provision for education to the West of Dunbar – but that will be dependent upon planning consent and house completions.

  12. Don

    What about the educational benifits of an upper/lower school. Library in each school focused to a smaller age group more books to chose from. Special needs teachers pe teachers a larger school would surley have better special needs and pe teacher provision. A decent sports hall and facilitys could be included in the new build and shared with both campuses. There is no evidnce to support the claim that small schools perform better than large schools. Obviously a rural school with 15 pupils has a better atainment level 1/2 teachers for a few pupils. At dunbar at present a lot of the classes are over 30 pupils! As for outings most are arranged on a class basis and I cannot see the problem in splitting a year group outing in to two it already happens. I have searched evry where and cannot find any Brittish statistics on School size and atainment.
    Could you please bring along the traffic report that rules out using West Barns we have all heard about it but no one seems to have seen it

    Regards

    Gordon

  13. Don

    The 184 number for 2010 has always been my problem for lower / upper school in Dunbar. When Ian Fullerton states that the P1 intake is predicted to be 150 in 2008 in the existing school that seems to say that if the current school can manage 150 in an overcrowded campus there should be no problem coping for 184 in a state of the art purpose built school. The Staff will have had plenty of practice in dealing with large year groups by then??? Is Ian Fullerton Wrong???

    It is logical to assume that the railway line will be a major factor in the catchment area this will no doubt divide the community. With the Asda store, Hotel and restaurant being built on the south side of the town people will not come into the town and mix with the community.

    Gordon

  14. Jaqui/Salval

    I’m sorry but given the forthcoming elections I can’t allow any party political promotion – or otherwise – on my Learning Log. Perhaps the newspapers would be the appropriate forum for such dabate?

  15. Quite right – in fact I would question whether you should *ever* allow any party political promotion on this site, pending election or otherwise!

  16. Sorry if you thought I was being political – I was noting factual information from a survey across the town which indicated support for the infant/primary split.
    I have written to the papers but nothing has been printed.
    I am having problems in accessing the Dunbar Town website where I’m aware other parties have been posting information.

  17. It’s good to see commensence winning through. The community can now look forward to no divide in Dunbar. There is now the opertunity to build a superb eco friendly school for all of the children of the town.

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