Redesigns unveiled for Newbattle school as Beeslack replacement site announced

Redesigns unveiled for Newbattle school as Beeslack replacement site announced

Easthouses Primary School

A new, redesigned Easthouses Primary School will be built on the site of the old Newbattle High School, Midlothian Council has announced, as plans are unveiled for a replacement for Beeslack Community High School within the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus. 

​At the full council meeting yesterday, councillors noted improvements to the design of the two stream primary school and approved the £22.044 overall costs from the capital budget.

The school will provide places for 459 children, 16 places to support children with social, emotional or behavioural needs from across Midlothian, and 80 pre-school places.

The new building will meet the council’s net zero aspirations and the Climate Emergency Declaration requirements.

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for Education, Councillor Ellen Scott, said: “The new school will be a high-quality and inspiring learning space for pupils, encouraging them to achieve their potential while also relieving pressures on surrounding schools, in particular Newtongrange Primary.”

With the tender process delayed because of Covid, the council used the time to work with an independent design team appointed through the Hub South East framework to refine the requirements.

The review has led to improvements including upgraded provision for children with Additional Support Needs, better use of dining space and measures to meet green energy standards. With a preferred contractor now in place, it is expected work will begin on site in April 2023 and be completed later in 2024.

Midlothian Council is also finalising an agreement with the University of Edinburgh to buy land at its Easter Bush Campus for a replacement for Beeslack Community High School, which will be a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centre of Excellence.

Councillor Scott added: “The chosen site, being right next to Easter Bush, offers a fantastic opportunity to work in partnership with the university.

“We’re very excited at the prospect of building a high-quality, inspiring learning environment, where pupils can take advantage of the STEM expertise on its doorstep – Easter Bush is a world-leading research and innovation campus specialising in animal biosciences, agritech, veterinary medicine and medicine.

“The new Centre of Excellence will not only raise attainment and help pupils secure high paying jobs in the future but linking with the university, it will also become a knowledge base, helping inform improvements to building design, the curriculum and teaching methods across Scotland.”

The school will be able to accommodate 1200 pupils with capacity to expand to take up to 1600 pupils and will have a dedicated learning space for children with Additional Support Needs (ASN).

It will be built to energy-efficient Passivhaus standards meaning it will have very low carbon emissions, helping the council towards its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Professor Bruce Whitelaw, director of the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Midlothian Council on this ambitious, collaborative project. By being part of the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush campus, this new school will draw from our world-leading expertise to become a STEM Centre for Excellence. The University has already had great success working with Newbattle Community High School in Dalkeith, and we want to build on this to help young people achieve their full potential.”

Three sites were identified by Midlothian Council for consideration and councillors agreed the chosen site as Easter Bush in the summer of 2021.

Cllr Scott added: “With commercial negotiations having reached an advanced stage, we are delighted to now be able to share the location of this exciting project. Local people including pupils, staff and parents will be consulted about more detailed plans for the school to make sure its facilities remain at the heart of the community.”
An inspiring building

The replacement for Beeslack will be Midlothian’s second Centre of Excellence. Newbattle Community High School opened as a Digital Centre for Excellence in 2018.

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