Unfairly represented

6th February 2004 at 00:00
I am extremely disappointed by the way that certain sections of the media have reported issues relating to the Dalkeith Schools Community Campus.

This campus brings together, in linked buildings, a school for those with additional learning needs and two high schools.

Each school retains its own ethos and identity while sharing a number of facilities, sport and leisure areas, playgrounds and dining facilities.

Since the youngsters moved on to the campus after the October holiday last year, there have been a very small number of incidents which have been dealt with by the management teams of the two high schools. While these incidents are unacceptable and must be dealt with promptly and appropriately, they are small in number and they are at a level which is either comparable or below other secondary schools throughout the United Kingdom.

Of the youngsters attending the campus, 99.9 per cent do so in an appropriate fashion. They enjoy the ability to go to school with their next door neighbour or friend who may attend a different school. They also enjoy the opportunity to mix at break times and in the dining area.

Some journalists indicate a "cycle of violence" at the campus and describe it as a social experiment. Neither of these perceptions could be further from the truth.

Parents have contacted the council in disgust with regard to the way matters have been reported. Many youngsters are asking their parents "what violence?" as they do not recognise the school that they attend from the press presentation.

The two high schools are working closely together on a range of curricular and non-curricular activities. A recent joint rock concert, joint senior ceilidh, joint excursions, etc have all gone exceptionally well but have attracted no press attention.

Visitors to the Dalkeith School' Community Campus will find a calm and productive working environment.

Students and staff should be commended for the way they have settled the schools into their new environment with the minimum of fuss and disruption to students' learning.

The perception of the vast majority of the community is of delight and pleasure at what has been achieved at the campus. I hope now that the media will be able to share that image and present it to the wider public.

Donald S MacKay Director of education Midlothian Council

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