LATEST: All pupils safe after fire but Peebles High School closed until next week.
Pupils have been evacuated from Peebles High School today after the building caught fire this afternoon.
Fire crews are still in attendance but all pupils have been successfully evacuated.
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “More than 40 firefighters are currently tackling a building fire at Peebles High School.
“We have nine fire appliances and two height appliances at the scene, alongside emergency service partners
“There are no reported casualties, and the school has been fully evacuated.”
Pupils were taken to nearby Priorsford Primary School and the parish church, some wearing foil blankets to protect them from the cold.
The council’s chief executive Tracey Logan added: “Peebles High School has been evacuated following a fire at around 1pm today. All pupils and staff are safe and accounted for.
“We are working closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service during this ongoing incident.
“Pupils who live in the town are being taken to the nearby Priorsford Primary School. Pupils who use school transport are being taken to Peebles Parish Church and then on to their buses.
“We have taken the early decision that the school will be closed tomorrow (Friday) and obviously also the St Andrew’s Day holiday on Monday.
“During this time we will liaise with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to ascertain the extent of the damage with a view to determining when the school can re-open and/or any alternative arrangements.
“Parents, pupils and staff will be informed through the normal channels.”
Earlier, Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam urged parents to avoid going to the school grounds.
She said: “All kids are safe and sound. Parents, please don’t try and go to the school. It will restrict access for emergency vehicles.
“Group call will be used as usual for communication.”
commenting on the fire, Michelle Ballantyne MSP said this afternoon: “This is devastating news.
“I’m relieved to hear that so far there have been no casualties. My thoughts are with the students and staff at Peebles High School.
“I believe we owe a massive debt of gratitude to our firefighters and emergency workers who are on-site managing the situation.
“This will be heart-breaking for the staff and pupils, and over the next few days I know council officials will be working very hard to ensure that pupils’ education will not be disrupted.”
It’s believed the fire started in the school’s art department and spread to the old gym hall, which was not in use.
The gym hall’s roof has completely collapsed, but it is believed that the fire has been contained to that area.
The gym hall was supposed to be used in two week’s time as a polling station in the general election, so another building will need to be used.
We’ll have an update on the situation tomorrow morning.
Our photograph, taken by one of the pupils, shows thick black smoke enveloping the building.