THE planned opening of a new secondary school for the Wallyford area has been put back by two years.

The approval of the new school, which will be built on land near Dolphingstone and take in students in the Pinkie area of Musselburgh, as well as Wallyford, was given at a meeting of East Lothian Council in December last year.

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The new school was expected to begin taking in pupils from August 2020, or as soon as possible after that date.

But the council has now written to all staff and families concerned to tell them that the expected opening of the school has now been put back to August 2022.

Fiona Robertson, head of education at East Lothian Council, said: “The council remains committed to delivering the new additional secondary school in the Wallyford area to meet the needs of local pupils, parents and the wider community, but, due to a number of factors outwith the council’s control, the new additional secondary school is now planned to open in August 2022.

"The council seeks to provide all young people with high-quality learning experiences at all of our schools across East Lothian. This revised opening date reflects the pace of housing development in the area and will ensure that the first group of young people transitioning to the new school are provided with a broad and balanced learning experience that meets their learning, social and emotional needs well.

"We have written to all staff and families concerned to let them know, in line with our commitment to provide pupils, staff and parents with updates or amendments to the proposed timescale.

“This change in timescale does not require us to conduct another statutory consultation and all feedback received during the consultation period remains valid.

"However, this change in date does mean that a different group of pupils will now be the first students to attend the new school.”

The timescales for the construction of the school will continue to be closely monitored and the council has made a commitment to provide parents and the public one year’s notice of the new school’s opening date to assist them with preparing for the transition.

Officers from the council’s education service are holding a series of meetings to engage with parents directly affected by the change in the proposed completion date.

A meeting with members of the parent councils of Musselburgh Grammar School, and Pinkie St Peters and Wallyford Primary Schools, will be held at Musselburgh Grammar next Monday (December 11) at 6.30pm.

The decision to build a new secondary school at Wallyford followed a public consultation after it became clear that Musselburgh Grammar School would not be able to cope with the expected influx of new residents as a result of extensive housebuilding in Musselburgh and Wallyford.

Three options were put forward: extend the current Grammar building; create an upper and lower school on two campuses; or build a new secondary school.

The council said a clear majority were in favour of building a new school, but some labelled the consultation "flawed".

Meanwhile, work is already taking place on the new Wallyford Primary School, which is expected to be complete by early 2019.