It will build a replacement for Beeslack Community High School within the university’s Easter Bush Campus. The council is finalising an agreement with the university to buy the land for the school, which is intended to become a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) centre of excellence.
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.
Councillor Ellen Scott, Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “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 1,200 pupils with capacity to expand to take up to 1,600 and will have a dedicated learning space for children with additional support needs.
It will be built to energy-efficient Passivhaus standards, 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.”
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.”
Beeslack Community High School Head teacher Lynn Black said: “Our pupils, staff and wider school community are really looking forward to helping create a unique building and centre of excellence that exceeds expectations and inspires current and future users for decades to come.”