East Lothian publishes the cost of education per pupil per school

Thursday November 18th 2021


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

The cost of educating pupils in East Lothian has been revealed with the county’s cheapest and most expensive schools in the same town.

East Lothian Council has shared details of how much it costs to run their schools breaking it down by pupil numbers.

And it reveals annual costs range from just over £4,000 per pupil to nearly £19,000 per pupil.

Some rural schools cost nearly double the county average due to small numbers of pupils while a new school in Haddington, which currently only has 54 pupils, is the most expensive.

The review is, the council says, a chance for people to find out the state of their school buildings and comment on what they think the council should make a priority moving forward.

East Lothian has six secondary schools and 36 primary schools across the county.

Haddington Primary School, which has 739 pupils across two campuses, is the cheapest to run per pupil with a cost of £4,170.

In contrast the newly opened Letham Mains Primary School in the town currently costs £18,790 to run per pupil – however the school, which is expected to reach its 451 pupil capacity by 2030, opened with just 54 pupils pushing up its costs.

The average cost across the county for running its primary schools last year was £6,079 per child but in some of the smaller schools where capacity is low it nearly doubles.

Humbie Primary School has just 19 pupils and operates at 34 per cent capacity costing £11,270 per pupil last year while Stenton Primary School, which has 24 pupils and is at 44 percent capacity cost £9,158 per pupil.

Councillor Fiona Dugdale, the council administration’s education spokesperson, said it was important families knew all the facts about their schools as part of the estate review.

She said: “We’re asking people for their views on our current estate and what they think is required to provide facilities that support and enhance learning opportunities.

“In order for us to do that, it’s important that we see our communities as partners and share the relevant information that informs future decisions.

“We know that people care about their schools and gathering their insight into how our buildings look, feel and work is vital to this process.”

The cost of running the school for the financial year is divided by the number of pupils and includes staff costs, school resources, building costs including gas, electricity, water and rates and other costs including cleaning, catering, refuse collection and transport.

The review, which is in its second phase also shares the state of each school building on a rate from A=Good to D=Bad for condition and suitability.

None of the schools rated a D in either condition or suitability.

Schools which rated C in both condition and suitability included in the Musselburgh cluster The Burgh Primary and Whitecraig Primary; in Prestonpans cluster Cockenzie Primary; in Tranent Macmerry Primary, Ormiston Primary; Haddington the former Kings Meadow campus of Haddington Primary School, and in Dunbar area East Linton Primary School.

The oldest school at 144 years old is Saltoun, which received a B for condition and C for suitability.

Only two schools received A gradings for condition and suitability – Wallyford Primary School and Letham Mains Primary School.

The council says the review is to help them understand and plan for the future of the buildings with the oldest school more than 140 years old and school rolls ranging from 17 pupils to 1,005.

The review is open for public comment until December 10 and a series of online drop-in sessions are being held at the end of this month.

To read more about the review go to https://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/ler

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