A NEW single primary school in Prestonpans will benefit pupils, according to a councillor.

Talks are taking place which could see Prestonpans Infant and Primary schools combined into one school.

Councillor Lachlan Bruce stressed the best interests of the children had to be taken into account.

He said: “It’s things like the support network, being able to follow people between schools. At the moment, they get one at one school and then get another at the next one.”

It was raised that the transition between the two schools, as happens at present, might be good for the children, but Mr Bruce claimed that was not the case.

He said: “Evidence from Education Scotland shows that it doesn’t. I don’t want to say stunted growth, but there are struggles that come along with it [when pupils transition]. If you’re eight-years-old, and you’re getting told you’re going to another school, it’s a lot bigger a deal.”

Mr Bruce also spoke about the appointment of a new headteacher, another hotly debated topic that has yet to be sorted.

“Look at the example of Haddington [where Haddington Infant School and King’s Meadow Primary School are merging]. They’ve had a really high calibre of headteacher that’s been applying for that job because it’s an interesting job, it’s a bigger school and you’re getting to build a school ethos essentially from the ground up. It really interests them, so they’ve been getting really high calibre of candidates so we’ll probably get the same here.”

A public consultation over the proposed Prestonpans schools’ merger is currently taking place, with Councillors Neil Gilbert and Fiona O’Donnell reporting to the town’s community council a largely positive response from a recent consultation meeting.

Mr Gilbert said: “I was at a consultation about the merger of the primary schools. There were 20 or so parents there. Discussions seemed quite amicable and friendly. That’s the start of the consultation process.”

Meanwhile, East Lothian Council is looking to extend the Infant School and has applied for planning permission to extend the nursery and add a two storey extension onto the main building, creating two classrooms, GP rooms, meeting rooms,and storage space. The nursery extension is single storey, adding an playroom and ancillary accommodation and outdoor space.