First pupils return to Peebles High School less than 10 weeks since fire

Peebles High School headteacher Campbell Wilson with senior pupils

Published: Monday, 3rd February 2020

The community of Tweeddale, businesses, partners and all others who offered support to us and Peebles High School have been thanked today as pupils start to return to the school site.

S4-S6 pupils returned to Peebles High School today, and will be followed tomorrow by the S1-S3 year groups. Pupils with complex needs will continue to be taught at the specialist facility at Galashiels Academy.

Chief Executive, Tracey Logan

“As the first pupils return to the school today I just want to acknowledge the exceptional support offered to both the school and the Council since the fire on 28 November.

“I personally want to convey my thanks to them all. Assistance and offers of support of all kinds came flooding in from the local community, businesses, our partners Live Borders and CGI, and other local authorities.

“The past two months have been an extremely challenging period for all concerned with the school and I am delighted that we have managed to be in a position to have the pupils back on site so quickly.

“That has only been possible thanks to an enormous amount of work and the support provided to us, and of course the outstanding work by firefighters over several days to contain the fire and minimise the extent of the damage.”

Peebles High School Headteacher Campbell Wilson

“To be able to welcome pupils back to Peebles High School this week is fantastic, and I’d like to pay tribute to the patience, resilience and positive attitude of pupils, their families and my staff while temporary teaching arrangements have been in place.

“The support from the school community - particularly the Parent Council - and beyond has been overwhelming and we are all extremely grateful for that and also the understanding of the local people and groups displaced from their normal venues.

“We are now fully focused on settling back in as quickly as possible and providing all subjects in the best possible settings in a remarkably short period of time, considering what has occurred.

“From today it really is business as usual for us all and we look forward to wider discussions in due course about the future of the school.”

Ewan Jackson, Chief Executive of charity Live Borders

“We were pleased to be able to assist Scottish Borders Council in ensuring that Peebles High pupils started to receive face-to-face teaching as quickly as possible following the fire and thank all our customers for their patience and understanding while certain venues have not been available.”

Spokesperson for Peebles High School Parent Council

“I cannot thank the staff of Peebles High School and Scottish Borders Council for all they have done for our young people since the devastating fire at the end of November. It has been a magnificent effort all round and we are indebted to the local community for rallying to the various calls for help throughout this difficult period.”

Longer term plans

Tracey Logan, Chief Executive

“An options appraisal is being undertaken to evaluate all potential options for the long term future of the Peebles High School site.

“The appraisal will be used to support future consultation with the Scottish Government, which has indicated its support for the Council in achieving the best possible final outcome. It is anticipated that the appraisal will be complete before the Easter break.”

We are proceeding with a major insurance claim with respect to direct and consequential losses and cost incurred as a result of the fire.