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Sun May 22 2022

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Edinburgh gives green light for new school

3 May 19 Improved facilities for children with autism are set to be provided in Edinburgh with the council's approval of the planned relocation of St Crispin’s Special School.

Funding of just over £12m for construction of the new school is included within the currently approved 2018-23 capital programme.

In March 2017, the council’s the education, children and families committee approved a programme of work to ensure that special schools keep pace with changing needs. This included increasing special school provision for children with autism. A key element of the plan is the relocation of St Crispin’s Special School into new accommodation. A statutory consultation was undertaken between last year.

A feasibility study in 2012 had concluded that refurbishing the existing St Crispin’s building was not a viable option. The existing school is considered too small with poor circulation space, lack of suitable storage and toilet provision, no dedicated dining space, no dedicated space for visiting professionals and main class area that are too small for class group numbers.

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Its replacement will be built with flexibility to cater more for upper primary and secondary pupils if required. The council said that the rationale for this is that it is not always possible to predict at a very early age which learners will develop the most complex needs that would most benefit from the environment and facilities of the new school.

The new school will also offer enhanced facilities for out of school and weekend activities.

Planning consent for the proposed new school in Burdiehouse was granted in March 2019, although the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) had issued an objection in principle to the application, as it is sited on a flood plain. SEPA’s objection means that the decision will be referred to the Scottish ministers who have 28 days to call the application in. There are no timescales provided in the event the application is called in by the ministers.

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