Proposal to relocate secondary Gaelic Medium Education (GME) to Drummond
Updated: 15th March 2018
On 27th February, and in an Evening News article on 2nd March, City of Edinburgh councillors made a commitment that:
Drummond will not become a dedicated GME school and it will stay open to its feeder primaries.
The commitment was repeated on 6th March at a meeting of the Education, Children and Families Committee (Spurtle article).
This page contains some background information and more details.
What was proposed originally?
On 8th December 2017, a report to the Education, Children and Families Committee of City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) suggested Drummond Community High School as the site for secondary-level GME in the future.
What is Gaelic Medium Education?
Gaelic Medium Education (GME) is when teaching of subjects is in Scottish Gaelic. This is more than just teaching Gaelic as a language. In GME any subject (e.g. history, maths, geography) can be taught in Gaelic.
In Edinburgh, Taobh na Pàirce (TnP) is a primary school in Bonnington Road that is fully GME (dedicated GME). Pupils from TnP currently go to James Gillespie’s High School (JGHS). At JGHS some subjects are taught in Gaelic for the GME pupils.
What did CEC propose?
On 8th December 2017 CEC started an “informal consultation” to:
(1) move secondary Gaelic Medium Education (GME) from JGHS to Drummond;
(2) consider the “opportunity” of Drummond becoming a GME-only school, if demand for GME increases.
If Drummond had become a GME-only school, it would only have admitted pupils who could speak Gaelic fluently or had had enough GME primary education. Drummond would therefore have stopped being available to local children at non-GME primaries (i.e. Broughton Primary School, Leith Walk Primary School and Abbeyhill Primary School). The report said that if Drummond parents and GME parents could agree to the plan, there would be a statutory (formal) consultation starting in March 2018.
What was Drummond Parent Council’s response?
After the proposal parents of children in Drummond’s feeder primaries told the school they were worried about the proposal. Drummond PC organised a meeting for primary parents on 19th December. All parents were opposed to the idea that Drummond could be closed to English Medium Education (EME) pupils. Many parents feared that if GME joined EME at Drummond, it would lead to Drummond becoming a dedicated GME school and closing to EME children.
The concerned parents from Drummond and its feeder primaries formed the “Drummond Community” campaign to ensure Drummond stayed open to its feeder primaries.
We analysed CEC’s predictions of how many pupils will be at Drummond and in secondary GME. We showed that if P7 pupils from TnP started coming to S1 in Drummond from 2019, Drummond could be full by 2022. On 9th January 2018, we published these figures in our Statement of Concern.
What was CEC’s response?
In response to our statement of concern, CEC officers told us that the statutory consultation would not start in March (see CEC Response to statement of Concern on separate sheet). They said there would be more time for informal consultations. The convenor of the Education Committee, Councillor Perry, said that there was “no rush”.
What is the current CEC position?
On 27th February 2018, there was an engagement event for parents of pupils at Drummond and its feeder primary schools. The councillors made the following commitment:
Pupils living within the existing Drummond catchment area will continue to attend the school. Drummond will not become a dedicated GME school.
It is possible that GME may temporarily share Drummond with English-medium education, but this will only happen if both:
1. The school can be expanded to ensure existing catchment pupils can always be accommodated and;
2. there is the opportunity to further develop the campus in future to create a dedicated GME school beside the existing High School.
A feasibility study will be carried out into a joint campus option; we expect to hear about this by May 2018.
In our discussions with CEC, we have understood the phrase “beside the existing High school” to mean the site of Lothian Buses’ garage in Annandale Street. On 6th March 2018 the Spurtle reported that Lothian Buses have said “Lothian has been on site at Annandale Street for a great many years – we have no plans to change that”. It therefore seems unlikely that “there is the opportunity to further develop the campus in future”, and it thus seems unlikely that GME will be moving to Drummond.
What does this mean if my child is already at Drummond or starting in 2018 or later?
There should be no effect on your child’s education. Any young person who starts at Drummond will be able to complete their secondary education at Drummond, including children currently at primary school and living in Drummond’s catchment area.
What are parents in Drummond and feeder primaries doing?
Parents from Drummond and the feeder primaries have formed the “Drummond Community” group.
Parents have been writing to and speaking with councillors and attending meetings. Drummond Parent Council is also in contact with council officials and with the Taobh na Pàirce Parent Council. Along with pupils Madiha Choudhury (S2) and Mohshin Syed (S6), we made a well-received deputation to Education, Children and Families committee on 6th March. Find out more from
What can I do?
- Follow the “Drummond Community” on Facebook or Twitter.
- Contact us at email@example.com if you have any concerns.