Leader Valley School is officially opened

Leader school opening plaque on an easel with  curtain reveal

Published: Friday, 3rd March 2017

The new Leader Valley School was officially opened by the Lord-Lieutenant for Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale, The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry KBE on Friday 3 March.

Council Convener, Councillor Graham Garvie, welcomed invited guests to the ceremony before asking the Lord-Lieutenant to unveil a commemorative plaque.

New school receives guests for official opening

Guests were then given the opportunity to hear more about the design process and enjoy a tour of the building.

The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry KBE, Lord-Lieutenant for Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale

“It was indeed a privilege to have been given the honour of declaring the Leader Valley School open. This was in fact my first official function on behalf of the Council since taking on the role of Lord-Lieutenant and I can think of no more fitting occasion than this to start out with.

“Leader Valley is clearly a unique and well thought out provision which has been carefully designed to meet the needs of the pupils and staff for whom it was built. My congratulations to everyone who has been part of this important project – it must be hugely rewarding for them to have witnessed their vision becoming the wonderful reality that we see today. I now wish pupils, staff and parents alike all the very best as they make this first class facility their own and look forward to hearing more about their progress as I have no doubt that the school has the potential to become a centre of excellence, not only for the Borders but also further afield.”

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, Executive Member for Education and Councillor Frances Renton, Executive Member for Social Work and Housing, paid tribute to everyone involved in the project.

“We would like to express our thanks to parents, pupils and staff for their patience and support during the development and construction of the Leader Valley School. The engagement we have had from the local community and both Earlston Primary and High schools is also appreciated. A huge thank you must also go to the design team and building contractors who have worked so tirelessly to make this day happen.”

Staff and pupils enjoyed their first day at Leader Valley on Thursday 16 February. Designed by our in-house architects, the new school has been built to provide a flexible and adaptable space which centres around three small classrooms, all with direct access to a safe outdoor space.

Building design with pupils needs in mind

An additional activity area provides opportunities for practical experiences and arts/crafts. There are several smaller rooms which can be used for:

  • meetings
  • therapy
  • tuition

A sensory/soft play space has been fitted out with equipment for specialised therapy. An additional breakout space can support the development of life skills and independent learning.

This takes place in a café style area which also contains a kitchen workspace and eating space.

All these areas have been created to provide optimum teaching and learning conditions while the décor and soft furnishings have been carefully planned to suit pupils’ needs.

Features of the new school

The school also has:

  • a welcoming reception area
  • appropriate ancillary accommodation for hygiene, administration and storage secure large outdoor space with areas for safe play/multi-sensory experiences
  • onsite staff parking
  • safe area for pupil drop off and collection

Further information

Images available on our Flickr page

Our Architects Section provided the:

  • project management
  • design
  • contract administration services
  • clerk of works services
  • landscape architectural design

The cost of the build was £1.7m which included the provision of a multi-use games area that has been part-funded by parents from Earlston Primary School, ourselves and grant support from SportScotland.