An email from our Chair to Councillors in early February 2018 in advance of the 2018/2019 budget.
Another deputation from the Parent Council attended the Education Children and Families committee today. We were providing more detail on the need for investment in the and calling on the Council to keep our school as a top priority for investment. The committee unanimously passed a motion to:
…ask officers for a report in one cycle setting out the next steps in terms of a Business Case and detailed design work for each of:
- Trinity Academy
- A Trinity Academy/Trinity Primary Campus; and
- Bangholm Gym and Pool facilities to support a secondary school of approximately 1200 roll.
We see this is an important step in our campaign for investment in the school and we look forward to working with Council officials on detailed design proposals for the school and the Bangholm site to support the school’s needs along with the community requirements such as rugby and hockey facilities.
Thank you to all those parents who emailed local Councillors to urge the Council to make investment in Trinity Academy a top priority for 2018/2019. The response was fantastic and we’re grateful for your support.
Last week the City of Edinburgh Council voted to accept the 2018-2013 budget proposed by the Labour/SNP coalition. Following our campaign to emphasise the need for investment in Trinity Academy, this post is to update parents on what this budget means for our school.
The Council’s budget includes £25m for investment in ‘Unallocated Match Funding for Replacement High Schools (Wave 4)’ starting in 2020/2021. What this means is that Trinity Academy is one of the six schools now included in the so-called ‘Wave 4’ programme, along with Balerno, Currie, Liberton High Schools plus Wester Hailes Education Centre and the new West Edinburgh High School. This amount is intended to match future funding from the Scottish Government’s capital funding programme such as ‘Schools for the Future‘ programme and therefore it is dependent upon a national budget being put in place for investment in schools.
The coalition’s depute leader (Cammy Day) has committed to delivering the new Trinity Academy and to ensuring that work can start as soon as possible in developing the Bangholm sports facility. Development of a new sports campus (one that meets the school’s and community’s needs) is an important first step to improve the school and make it easier to develop the main site.
Our campaign has succeeded in raising the profile of the school with our elected representatives. We have the support of all our local Councillors plus our MSP (Ben Macpherson) and MP (Deidre Brock). Our local Councillors are committed to providing the resources needed to maintain the school to the required standard until Wave 4 funding is in place. We have also been successful in highlighting Trinity’s needs to Councillors across the city who may not have been aware of the school’s position.
At this time though, there is no budget agreed to start redeveloping Bangholm or preparing to refurbish or rebuild the school. We will continue to push the Council to deliver on those commitments to delivering a ‘new’ Trinity, developing Bangholm plus preparing a business case and proposals for a new school. All of this work will demonstrate to the Scottish Government that the Council is serious about investment in our school. We will continue to support our MSP in making the case that Trinity needs investment as an urgent priority, driven by the condition of the school but also the pressure from rising rolls in this area.
The Parent Council has been arguing for many years that the school is in need of significant investment. Last year, in response to our survey of parents’ views many of you agreed with this and raised it as a priority issue. Putting this in context, Trinity Academy last benefitted from major refurbishment in 1995 while we have seen many other schools refurbished or rebuilt in the last few years.
We believe the school’s 125th anniversary represents a unique opportunity to turn-around an approach of piecemeal repairs to one that prioritises sustainable development of the school. The whole community would greatly benefit, for decades, from proper far-sighted investment to refurbish or rebuild the school.
We want as many of you as possible to contact local Councillors because we need to urge the council to commit now to invest in Trinity Academy. Please email them before mid-February (the Council’s budget meeting is 22-February). Below we’ll explain why we need you to do this and some of the main issues.
We must separate the school as a building from the idea of school as a place where our children are educated. We know that Trinity Academy is a successful school, a popular school that people are proud to have in their community.
On the other hand, the school buildings need significant investment. In December 2017 Trinity Academy’s condition and suitability assessment meant it was the secondary school most in need of investment within Edinburgh. The swimming pool has remained unused for many years, with the Council unwilling to repair or replace it while the future plan for development of the school is uncertain. As a result, the school lacks some of the facilities that are taken for granted in other schools.
At the moment the 2018/2019 budget describes work to rebuild or refurbish Trinity Academy as a priority but one that is unfunded. We want the Council to turn Trinity Academy into a funded priority now. There is a proposal that, as a first step, the Council could commit to release funds to develop designs for a rebuilt or refurbished school at the site and develop the Bangholm site to provide a new sports campus.
Both of these could be an important first step. Development of a new sports campus at Bangholm (one that meets the school’s and community’s needs) is an important first step to improve the school and would make it easier to develop the main site. We think that developing a design solution for the school site demonstrates a commitment to improving the school and would be a first step in obtaining any future funding from the Scottish Government.
Despite the many good reasons why funding for improvements at Trinity Academy should be in the 2018/2019 budget, other competing priorities will also be included. It’s important we apply pressure to those making the decision on Edinburgh’s budget to ensure the importance of investment in our community and its future are recognised.
What can we do to help?
The most important thing we can do to help is to write to our local councillors and the Director of Communities and Families, Alistair Gaw. The full council will meet on the 22nd February and determine the final decision on the 2018/2019 budget. It’s therefore very important that we put pressure on our councillors to ensure that investment in Trinity Academy is included in the budget for this coming year.
Please email or write to your local Councillors and everyone listed in our ‘who’s who’ document. Please also include neighbouring Councillors and members of the Education, Children and Families committee plus our MP and MSP, Both of whom are supporting this campaign. Send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org too.
To start an email with everyone included just click here.
Please don’t worry this if you are busy or feel you are not good at writing letters, hopefully the points below help, and it is much more important that we show our Councillors just how much support there is among their constituents for investment in our school. The best letter is one that uses your own words, reflecting your own experiences and guided by some of the points below.
- Trinity Academy has missed-out on much-needed investment while other schools have been redeveloped in the city.
- This is unfair on students at Trinity Academy who do not have the same resources and opportunities as are available elsewhere in the city.
- The uncertainty over future redevelopment has reduced maintenance and repair at the school to the essential minimum.
- Recent work that has been carried out at the school is to keep it wind and water tight; it does not enhance the education of my child.
- Due to rising rolls, the school will breach capacity in 2024 and pressure on the school will increase before then as the ‘rising roll’ generation of primary school students move to secondary school.
- In some areas such as PE and general-purpose space the school is already unable to cope with its current roll.
- The needs of Trinity Academy can not wait for another budgetary cycle.
- 2018 marks the 125th anniversary of Trinity Academy. Trinity is a school with a long history which needs investment to continue to provide a first-class education to the young people of our community.
- Trinity Academy must remain a top-priority for investment.
Thank you for anything you can do to help to prioritise investment in Trinity Academy in this year’s budget. If you have any questions about this please contact us.
At our at tonight’s PC meeting we welcomed Councillor Cammy Day, Convenor of Education, and discussed future options for investment in Trinity Academy.
We discussed the Council’s consultation on changing the Trinity Academy catchment and moving Victoria Primary School and agreed that the Parent Council submission to the consultation will raise two points:
- We support the proposed change of catchment area for Trinity Academy as it formalises the established arrangement under which Trinity Academy is already
the appropriate non-denominational secondary school for the Western Harbour.
- However, the proposals do not recognise that, because of the rising rolls driving this proposal, Trinity Academy already faces an impending capacity issue and this proposal does not define how these will be resolved. We urge the Council to ensure that the proposals are aligned with, and inform, necessary investment at Trinity Academy in the near future.
We will be writing to the Council with this response before the March 17 deadline.