Big summer of change lies ahead for schools across Dundee

Gregor Murray, middle back row, and Paul Clancy, back row second right, with Blackness Primary School staff and students.

Six Dundee schools will be moving to new premises this August, in what is set to be a busy summer for education in Dundee.

Four primaries, one pre-school and one nursery will reopen at new purpose-built premises across two campuses after this year’s summer holidays.

And as part of the ongoing proposals to invest in school buildings in the city, there are plans to spend £1 million on improvement work at some of the old Victorian and Edwardian schools.

Three schools — Rosebank Primary in Weavers Lane, Our Lady’s RC Primary in Nelson Street and Frances Wright Pre-school Centre in Caird Avenue — will open at the new Coldside Community campus, on the site of the former Alexander Street multis.

Meanwhile, the Lothian Crescent/Longhaugh Road campus in the North East of the city will welcome Longhaugh Primary and St Francis RC Primary (formerly St Vincents and St Lukes and St Matthews) and Quarryview Nursery — the former Longhaugh Nursery and St Vincent’s Nursery class.

Gregor Murray, convener of the city council’s children and families services committee, said: “This forms part of major investment in school buildings in Dundee.

“Looking ahead, we’ve got a lot of building movements this year.

“We’ve also got an ambitious plan for our older buildings with almost £1m of investment in our Victorian and Edwardian schools.

Rosebank Primary School

“All of that is in our current capital plan which has been to committee and sets out the spending over the next few years.

“Our current priorities for the next few years will be the expansion of nursery provision from the current 600 hours per year to 1,140 hours per year.

“That represents a huge shift in spending towards early intervention and getting it right for children early.

“This will require us to consider where the provision needs to be to work for families and children, and although we’ve been to committee a few times, we will be coming back with a more full plan once we know our final funding settlement from the Scottish Government.

“We’ve already included an extension to Frances Wright Pre-school and are considering a new nursery in the East End ward, but that’s very much just the tip of the iceberg in terms of expansion of our estate for nursery children.”

As part of the ongoing change to the school estates in Dundee the former Hillside and Gowriehill primaries are set to be demolished.

The convener said: “The former Hillside and Gowriehill primaries are well settled into their new school on a joint campus with Menzieshill nursery.

“I believe they are looking forward to an official opening shortly.”

Director of children and families services Paul Clancy said there were many ongoing improvements and adaptations to the schools estate across Dundee.

In a recent report, Mr Clancy said enhancement works would be carried out at Dens Road, Blackness, St Mary’s, St Peter and St Paul and Glebelands primaries in 2018/19 with improvement works for 2019/20 at Ancrum, Clepington, Dens Road, Eastern, St Mary’s and St Peter and Paul primaries.

He said: “These schools remain popular with parents and a significant amount of ongoing investment has kept the schools in good condition.”

Dundee’s newest secondary school — the £28.7m replacement for Baldragon Academy — will open at its new site in Harestane Road on Thursday.