All Peebles High students are expected to return to the fire-hit school ain just over a month’s time, council bosses have confirmed.
Pupils have been taught elsewhere in Peebles and in Galashiels since a blaze at the Springwood Road secondary at the end of November, but they are all now set to return within weeks, either to those buildings undamaged by the fire or in temporary classrooms being sited in its grounds.
Students in years S4 to S6 will resume lessons at Peebles High on Monday, February 3, after their preliminary exams finish on Friday, January 31.
Pupils in years S1 to S3 will follow suit on Tuesday, February 4, after working from home the day before.
“S1-S3 pupils will be asked to work from home on the third to ensure that the return to the high school site is managed in a safe and practical way,” said a Scottish Borders Council spokesperson.
Council chief executive Tracey Logan explained: “We have continued to work right up to Christmas and in the days since to put plans in place to have all pupils back at Peebles High School as soon as possible.
“This includes the provision of temporary classrooms in the high school’s grounds, and preparations for these are well under way.
“Although work continues, we are now fairly confident that, all going well, all pupils will be able to return to Peebles High School over the two days of February 3 and 4.
“This still depends on a number of factors, but with the help and support of a huge range of staff and partners, we are very optimistic that we can achieve this.
“We would like to give parents and carers as much notice as possible, and this includes the decision to ask S1-S3 pupils to work from home on Monday, February 3.
“The logistics of moving from the temporary sites and preparing new arrangements are hugely challenging, and the safety and wellbeing of pupils is our priority. As such, the operation to move from the temporary sites from Friday lunchtime over the weekend and into Monday needs to be carefully planned and managed.
“I am delighted that we are in such a positive position so quickly, given the scale of the challenge.
“We will continue to work on details around these plans and will keep pupils, parents and staff updated as we make more progress.”
Parts of the site will remain out of bounds due to fire damage or recovery work.
Preliminary exams will take place at the Peebles High campus from Monday, January 13, until the end of the month.
Current interim teaching and transport arrangements will remain in place after pupils return from their Christmas break on Monday, January 6, with pupils in S1, S2 and S3 continuing to be educated at alternative locations within Peebles.
Youngsters in years S4, S5 and S6 will still be taught in Galashiels next week until their prelim exam leave begins on Friday, January 10.
Ms Logan said: “We have fully considered all aspects of the transport provision, and I can honestly say we have done our utmost to ensure it is as smooth as possible.
“There are now only four days of travel for the pupils based in Galashiels before study leave begins. Therefore, we have made the decision to keep the current arrangements in place for those four days as this will allow us to concentrate on delivering on our commitment to return all pupils to Peebles High School by February 4.
“Once again, I’d like to pay tribute to everyone who has supported the council and Peebles High School during this extremely challenging period, and, of course, to all the pupils, parents and staff for their patience during this time.
“The support of our partners Live Borders and CGI, numerous contractors and the local community has been invaluable.
“I’d also like to thank all my staff who have worked so hard since November 28 to get us to this position.”
Updates will continue to be provided at www.scotborders.gov.uk/phsfire