Pupils draw up interior designs for new Porty High

IT sounds like a mad idea, but council chiefs have allowed schoolchildren to hit the drawing board to come up with ideas for the design of their new school.

Jessica McCulloch, Andrew Muirhead, Dillion Hoskins and Emelia Baikie show off their ideas. Picture: Ian Georgeson

A group of creative P7s have been set to work on ideas for the interior of the £41.5 million new Portobello High School, in Portobello Park, which was finally given the go-ahead in June after more than a decade of delays.

In a series of workshops, pupils from five feeder primaries – Duddingston, Brunstane, Towerbank, Parsons Green and Royal High – came up with ideas for the state-of-the-art campus, which will replace the crumbling 1960s building in Duddingston Road.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Two P7s from each school were paired with an S2 pupil at Portobello, where they were brimming with ideas for the assembly hall, dining room and other social spaces.

These ranged from study booths and wifi chill zones to soundproof rooms for exams, which was mooted by budding architect Andrew Muirhead, 11.

The Towerbank Primary pupil said: “It would be good to have soundproof rooms so it is quiet for people.

“Some of the S2s said they could hear cars.”

He said the project was “cool” and it had encouraged him to follow his dreams.

He said: “I’m really into drawing. I saw some architects on TV and thought ‘I’d like to do that’.”

Duddingston Primary School pupil Emelia Baikie suggested whiteboard tables so students could jot down their ideas in a more creative way.

The 11-year-old said: “Instead of having a whiteboard to share or to use paper, we could have the table.”

The ideas were collated by Maggie Barlow and Kirstine Robinson from Space Strategies, a consultancy firm which provides innovative ideas for different environments.

Strategy director Ms Barlow said: “It’s not just about wacky ideas, it’s about practical stuff. The kids were great, they were very pragmatic about the need for cleanliness, for boundaries and for spaces which everyone wants to look after.

“They were very interested in the technology side which they have explored in the designs.

“Colour was also really important. It’s about branding the spaces so everyone knows what kind of activities are supposed to happen there, so there are areas for quiet time and areas for people to be boisterous.

Headteacher Peigi Macarthur said: “They will be the ones who will be using the building. It’s a nice thing to let them help as it is their future.”

The new school is due to be built by August 2016.