Update on Peebles High School damage and current focus

Peebles High School fire

Published: Wednesday, 11th December 2019

A number of Peebles High School’s buildings suffered significant fire and smoke damage following the incident on 28 November.

Summary

  • An initial assessment of the fire, smoke and water damage to the site has taken place
  • An associated property plan is being developed, which includes longer term considerations
  • There is now a significant focus on putting in place plans for teaching for the new term in January and beyond
  • Pupils, parents, carers and staff will continue to be updated on a regular basis

While the local community continue to be warned to stay away from the school for their own safety, work has started to make the site safe.

Building Assessment

As part of the initial assessment, the site has been split into three areas.

Area One

The first area, which includes the Millennium Wing, science, drama, craft, design and technology and music classes, as well as the dining room, sports hall and assembly hall, has largely been unaffected by the fire.

This is the only area where personal possessions have been recovered from.

Area Two

The second area, which includes modern languages, additional needs, maths tower and reception area, has seen significant smoke damage in places, and/or limited fire damage.

Area Three

The third area, which includes the PE gymnasium, art classrooms, pupil support rooms and toilet area, has been worst affected with significant fire and/or smoke damage.

Emergency demolition works will get underway in sections of this third area this week, which will allow further structural and safety investigations to be carried out. These investigations will include a series of safety checks and inspections, including by specialist fire remedial experts.

We are continuing to recover school material and belongings from the school site wherever possible but there are still some areas of the building, such as Areas 2 and 3, which are not yet accessible. More information is available on our dedicated webpages.

Arrangements from January 2020

Work is now being undertaken to make plans for the medium to long term, focused on providing the best possible learning arrangements for all pupils. As part of the planning we will consider the upcoming prelims, study leave and plans for the exams after Easter. This work includes consideration of what options there may be on the Peebles High School site to accommodate pupils.

We will continue to keep pupils, parents and carers and staff fully updated as plans are developed.

PHS Site Security

The Peebles High site is secured, with security staff, CCTV and regular police patrols in place and people continue to be asked to stay away.

Tracey Logan, Chief Executive

“Safety remains our main priority at the moment at Peebles High.

“The site is currently hazardous and unsafe, which is why it is vital that the public stay away from the school.

“We are making progress with our evaluation of the site, but this is a complex and difficult recovery project.

“This is an extremely challenging time and we appreciate the continued understanding and support of the community.”

Stuart Reid, Chief Inspector

“I cannot stress enough how dangerous this area is just now and the fencing has been put up for everyone’s safety. People should stay away from the area and we will be carrying out patrols to reinforce this message.

“Anyone caught within the school or tampering with the fence will be dealt with appropriately.

“The school is out of bounds, and I would ask anyone who witnesses anyone in the grounds to call us at the time on the 101 number, or 999 if it is an emergency.”

Further information

  • Drone footage of the Peebles High School site showing the extent of the damage, is available on our YouTube channel.
  • Further information and FAQs can be found on our dedicated webpages.