Edinburgh Academy to stop taking boarders in £5m revamp

EDINBURGH Academy is to stop taking boarders after 183 years as part of a £5 million redevelopment.

The move comes after the school announced it would become fully co-educational with girls admitted to the junior school for the first time this August. Subject to planning approval by the city council, the Academy plans to build new nursery and after-school facilities, a design technology department, including a jewellery workshop, and two all-weather sport pitches.

Much of the work will be funded through the sale of the three remaining boarding houses.

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Only one of the boarding houses is still used during term time, providing accommodation for 14 international students in Kinnear Road, Stockbridge, across from the junior school. All parents affected have received letters warning them of the changes.

One is used during holiday periods while the third is rented out as a townhouse.

Henry Fairweather, chairman of the court of directors at the school, said: "The requirement for boarding is declining. In the last ten years the number of pupils boarding in SCIS (Scottish Council of Independent Schools) schools in Scotland has dropped by over 20 per cent to around 3400.

"In order to compete in this market and provide a first-class facility for boarding in the 21st century, considerable investment would be required.

"At the same time we have seen increasing demand from parents for nursery education, both full and part-time, and after-school care. The Academy has taken a strategic decision to focus on the needs of our day school pupils and invest substantially in facilities and activities to support this need, rather than in a declining boarding market."

Work was already planned to take place this summer ahead of girls being admitted to the junior school.