There is no segregation

28th November 2003 at 00:00
Following a number of articles in national newspapers claiming Midlothian Council was segregating pupils from St David's and Dalkeith high schools, I held a press conference and issued a detailed statement on Monday November 3, the purpose of which was to quash these inaccurate stories.

I was therefore dismayed to read your article (November 7), with its sensational headline, when I had issued a clear statement denying any policies to segregate pupils. I can only imagine the effect on staff morale when they have worked so hard in preparation for moving to the new campus.

I gave detailed reasoning as to why it was necessary initially to separate pupils in the dining area to help them settle into the new environments and emphasised that this would have been done regardless of whether the schools were denominational or non-denominational. None of this was reported.

With around 2,000 pupils arriving on the campus, it was decided that the dining area should be carefully controlled to ensure its smooth running.

Pupils from the two high schools enter the dining area from separate entrances. It was therefore practical that initially they sat at tables nearest their entrances. Now that pupils are familiar with proceedings and their surroundings, they are free to sit with colleague pupils from the two schools. To have allowed an "open house" approach on day one would have been folly and might have caused distress to some pupils.

The new schools campus has never been a "step towards unity". We have made it clear from the start that there were to be three separate schools, each with its own teaching areas and retaining its own identities and ethos but sharing sports and leisure facilities as well as assembly hall, library, dining and drama areas. We, as a small council, are proud of this flagship campus, which offers 2,000 pupils exceptional teaching and learning accommodation as well as sport and leisure facilities for members of the community.

These include an all-weather running track; an all-weather, floodlit footballhockey pitch; a competition-size swimming pool; and the first proper theatre facility in Midlothian in a 500-seater assembly hall as well as large sports hall, with retractable seating for 500 spectators.

Donald S MacKay

Director of education Midlothian Council

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now