SBC accused of "insulting" pupils, teachers and community with Peebles High plans

Plans for the new Peebles High School have been slammed as a poor use of council and government money and an insult to young people, teachers, and the community.
An artist's illustration of the new school.An artist's illustration of the new school.
An artist's illustration of the new school.

Scottish Borders Council has been asked to re think the design after angry parents savaged its plans for the new building, with major concerns surrounding open plan classrooms and there being no provision for a school hall.

Parents wrote to Peebles Community Council concerned that teachers’ views are being ignored and that the school – management included – are being railroaded into a design that nobody feels is really fit for purpose.

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Marianne Wilson says that anything parents and the wider community has to say about the school plans will be brushed aside.

She says it “stinks of corruption”, adding that architect and planners were highly defensive when there was fierce opposition to open plan classes

Mrs Wilson said: “The whole thing is a travesty. SBC will produce a high school that’s totally not fit for purpose as well as being a colossal waste of money and will require even more money to rectify these wrongs in the near future.

"Open plan affects kids with auditory and sensory needs. It’s cruel to inflict it on them and I do not understand why they are persisting with it in the face of almost universal opposition.”

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And parents say the canteen only has capacity for a quarter of the school roll, because the architect thought lunch breaks were staggered.

One parent remarked that the double-height full-sized auditorium in the original plans have “slyly” been removed.

“A hall is the heart of the school. What they are proposing in the plans, having just a single-storey drama studio instead, is not suitable.

A teacher has also written to Peebles Community Council, and in a stinging statement, said: “Looking at the most recent proposal, it doesn’t appear that the views of key stakeholders – teachers, parents, future parents, the community – are being taken into consideration.

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"The assembly hall or auditorium should be as good as what we have currently or better. Peebles has an outstanding music and drama department putting on regular and exceptionally well-attended shows which also raise much needed money for the school.”

The staff member said there are not enough classrooms and cautioned that open plan would be to the detriment of teachers and students.

“I sincerely hope Scottish Borders Council will not continue to let down our young people and future generations with another not-fit-for-purpose high school.”

A spokesperson for SBC said: “The council is aware of concerns from the school community in relation to the new high school being developed. The project team will be continuing school, parent and community based engagement with the Parent Council at their next meeting on November 10 as part of the ongoing design development of the new school building.”