Plans are in place to rebuild and refurbish Trinity Academy. Once complete, the school will have space for 1200 pupils (the current roll in 2019/2020 is 855).
This document has been produced by Trinity Academy Parent Council to provide a summary of the background to this exciting change for the school. In it, we summarise the proposals and highlight some of the development’s implications. The City of Edinburgh Council’s information on the development can be found their website.
This development is a process so this document will be updated regularly. Please contact us by email or check this page for the latest version.
Over many years, a programme of improvement for Edinburgh’s high schools has been taking place. This is to increase capacity and improve facilities. Schools are prioritised on factors like capacity, projected school rolls, the condition of the buildings and the quality of existing accommodation. As a result, each ‘Wave’ of funding has been targeted at a particular set of schools and three Waves are now complete. The next Wave of funding is Wave4 and the high schools planned for improvement are Castlebrae, Currie and Trinity.
The council’s criteria for assessing all schools are condition and suitability. School roll projections are also an important part of these assessments. Trinity has been prioritised for a number of reasons including a lack of capacity in PE and general-purpose areas such as the dining hall. The Parent Council has lobbied the Council in recent years to ensure that the school is considered for the investment it needs. We are therefore excited by this forthcoming development and believe it will see a significant improvement in the learning and teaching facilities at Trinity Academy, as well as improving community facilities.
Trinity Academy is split between the main Craighall Road site (housing most learning and teaching facilities) and Bangholm Playing Fields (outdoor sports facilities). The Craighall Road site has a mix of buildings in a long “ribbon” running from the ‘B’ listed Victorian block (the school had its 125th anniversary in 2018), extending towards Newhaven Road with other blocks dating from the 1960s and the 1990s. These buildings look onto Victoria Park. The school also uses two sports pitches and changing facilities at Bangholm Playing Fields off Craighall Gardens (a 5 minute walk from the main school buildings). The school is bordered by Craighall Road, Victoria Park and former railway cuttings, now part of the bike path. The boundaries around the school therefore affect how it could be developed.
The Council held consultation meetings with the school and local community, and considered whether the school should be redeveloped as a new build or as a refurbishment of existing buildings. Sites nearby were considered for a complete new build of the whole school, for example at Bangholm, but these sites would have their own limitations or would be likely to result in lengthy planning delays. Therefore, the Council’s way forward is to redevelop the Craighall Road site using a mix of new build and refurbishment, while replacing the sports facility at the Bangholm with new buildings. This proposal also potentially enables stronger connections with amenities in the local community such as the park and the bike path although these details are still to be developed.
Phase 1 – Bangholm Sports Facility – the proposal is for a new indoor sports facility which will include a gym hall, sports hall, fitness suite and dance studio along with a café-style community space. It will also house a flexible community room and classroom. The indoor PE facilities currently in the main school building will move to Bangholm. This is a significant change and will result in a considerable enhancement of current provision. The building will also provide a base for the Council’s Outdoor Learning Team, including Duke of Edinburgh award activities. The drainage and surfacing of the existing hockey (astro) and rugby (grass) pitches will also be improved. The new facility will be used by the school during the day and will be available to the community in the evenings and at weekends. It is expected that this will be managed by Edinburgh Leisure. The planning application for Phase 1 was lodged in December 2019 with a closing date of 31/1/20 for comments and a determination date of 12/2/20.
Phase 2 – the detail of Phase 2 is yet to be worked up and some assessment of the current school building is required before this can be done. In October 2019, the plan presented by the Council at a public meeting for parents was that Phase 2 would be phased over 5 years, with much of the work in the first 2 years being done in the summer holidays. This detail will become clear once finance is in place and a more detailed design process can take place.
The original intention was that work would begin in the summer of 2020 with the new sports facility completed in time for the academic year 2021/22. However COVID delayed the planning permission and tendering processes. The current thinking is that Phase 1 will begin in 2021. The original plan had been for Phase 2 to take place from 2022-2025 but there is no indication yet that this plan can be relied on because of the potential impact of COVID on finances.
An initial £10 million has been approved by the Council for Phase 1. The budget for Phase 2 is dependent on future budget decisions by the Council. The Council will be making a capital budget decision in late February 2020 and we hope that funding for Phase 2 will be allocated then enabling more detailed design and planning to take place.
Under the current plans, from session 2021/22 all pupils will benefit from the new sports facility at Bangholm. In terms of Phase 2, details will be developed once funding has been secured but summer 2021 is the current estimated start date. The Parent Council will be working together with all parties involved to continue to make the delivery of great education at Trinity Academy the priority throughout the process and to minimise any disruption. The Council has experience of managing school rebuilding projects where schools operate successfully on site as development takes place, and where any temporary facilities required are of excellent quality. In addition, the potential for work to be done in the summer holidays is also a step which may ease the process. The answer to this question will evolve as the project takes shape.
Unfortunately in March 2020 the planning permission process stalled and the proposed start date of summer 2020 was put on hold. Processes picked up again in autumn 2020 and it is hoped that the tendering process for construction of Phase1 will continue towards the end of 2020 with construction beginning early in 2021. This does depend on some final approvals and we’ve been told that in addition to this delay, construction time may now take longer than originally planned as well because it will have to incorporate COVID-related working practices. Approval of a capital budget that puts funds in place for future work on the main school site under Phase 2 is under review.
This FAQ was updated: January 20th 2020