Arrangements made for Peebles High School pupils after fire

Peebles High School pupils are resuming face-to-face teaching this morning after officials from Scottish Borders Council worked throughout the weekend to put in place alternative arrangements.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 11:42 am
Senior pupils at Galashiels Academy meet their Peebles counterparts on Friday.

The pupils were left studying on their own last week using online apps following the huge blaze which badly damaged the school on Thursday, November 28.

This week, transport arrangements have been established to ensure pupils are able to access the learning being provided for them at alternative locations, with more information available at www.scotborders.gov.uk/PHSFire

This has also been communicated directly to parents and publicised through the council’s social media channels. Pupils and parents are urged to check the specific details for their specific bus routes.

FAQs are also available which provide additional information including timings of the school day, catering arrangements and how parents will be able to contact the various locations if required.

Senior S4-S6 Peebles pupils are being taught at temporary locations in Galashiels, including the academy itself and Langlee Community Centre complex.

They will be taught by Peebles High teachers and the arrangements have been put in place until the Christmas break on Thursday, December 19.

A group of senior pupils from both schools met up on Friday ahead of the move to get to know each other better.

William Adams, a head prefect at Peebles High School, said: “Being taken from our normal environment so abruptly was a shock to the system so we’re all grateful to get back into it.

“Everyone at Gala that I’ve seen has been incredibly understanding.

“This a fantastic way of meeting new people and regardless of how quickly we end up getting back to Peebles High School, we’re going to have a great time here.”

And Galashiels Academy head girl Rosie McLeman added: “I’ve got friends from Peebles and I’m looking forward to seeing them here. It’s definitely going to be different for us, but it’s a positive change and we’re looking forward to it.”

Head teacher of Peebles High School, Campbell Wilson, said: “It’s clear that everyone at Gala Academy has worked extremely hard to be ready for us and we really appreciate that.

“Our young people are very resilient and I’m immensely proud of the way they have risen to this challenge, continue to be positive and continue to focus on their learning.”

Head teacher of Galashiels Academy, Kevin Ryalls, added: “We really want to help and are looking forward to welcoming the pupils and staff from Peebles.

“Our students empathise with them and we’re going to maximise every opportunity we have and make it work for the young people at a critical time of year for them.”

Transport is being provided for all pupils travelling to Galashiels. Full information including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is available at: www.scotborders.gov.uk/PHSfire

S1-S3 pupils from Peebles High will receive face–to-face teaching in Peebles at alternative locations. Again, full details are on the website and have been communicated to parents and carers.

Meanwhile, recovery of belongings and classroom materials from Peebles High School is ongoing.

It has been confirmed that an encouragingly high amount of work has survived, including exam work, pupil notes, portfolios and artwork.

More details will be provided to pupils and parents as soon as these become available.

Again, further details are available online via the dedicated webpage.

Tracey Logan, the council’s chief executive, said: “The amount of work that has been undertaken to get us to this point has been considerable, and I would again like to thank everyone who has been involved for their invaluable contribution.

“As well as my staff teams who have worked tirelessly since last Thursday, the support we have had from across the Borders, and further afield, has been hugely encouraging and extremely welcome.

“I wish pupils, parents and staff all the very best for Monday. We have done our utmost to make the arrangements as effective as they can be, but it has been a complex operation and we would ask for everyone’s co-operation and understanding as we put everything into practise for 1,300 pupils.

“I know teaching staff are keen to be reunited with their pupils and resume face-to-face learning, albeit in settings that will initially seem unfamiliar. Hopefully, together they are able to settle into their new spaces and routines quickly.”

An event for parents/carers of S4 to S6 pupils will take place on Wednesday, December 11 at Macdonald Cardrona Hotel.

Formal parents’ evenings will take place in the new year. Further details can be found at www.scotborders.gov.uk/PHSfire

People are still being warned to stay away from the school site for their own safety. The site is secured, with security staff, CCTV and regular police patrols in place.

Support for Peebles High will continue for the foreseeable future and updates provided at: www.scotborders.gov.uk/PHSfire

In connection with the fire at the school, two boys were arrested last week and one was charged with wilful fire raising.

The other was released pending further inquiries. A report has been sent to the children’s reporter.