Edinburgh set for build of Scotland’s first Passivhaus high school

Image credit: Architype

PLANNING permission has been granted for the build of the new Currie Community High School in Edinburgh.

The campus will be the first Passivhaus-designed high school in Scotland, with construction expected to start this summer and be completed by 2024. The energy standard allows for a reduction in the amount of energy needed for heating by up to 90%, as well as lowering the total amount of energy used by around 70%.

At the heart of the blueprint for the school are five core elements in education, inclusion, outdoor learning and sustainability, digital learning, and community access.

The school will feature a series of learning zones for pupils with breakout areas which include science, technology, engineering and maths over three levels; languages and humanities with dual teaching classrooms; a learning plaza and a debating chamber; expressive arts with music rooms, a recording, art, dance and drama studios; a gym and games hall, fitness suite and swimming pool; and an integrated support and wellbeing hub.

There is also a ‘strong’ emphasis on outdoor learning with the creation of a special terrace on the second floor providing all of the learning zones with immediate access to external teaching spaces. This focus will shape the curriculum on offer and ensure these outdoor spaces promote sustainability and link lifelong learning to the surrounding grounds of the school and community.

Health and wellbeing also feature ‘prominently’ in the designs with the creation of a dedicated wellbeing hub and separate wellness centre to support pupils. The hub will be based in the integrated support zone and is a dedicated room in a quiet location which can be used as part of a planned alternative/flexible timetable to help young people learn in a variety of settings. The wellness centre will be in the community and sports side of the building and will provide a space for counselling and activities to support improved mental health.

The new building will offer the community daytime, evening and weekend access to an intergenerational community hub. Visitors can drop in to the library space in the foyer, access meeting rooms and digital services, visit the café, keep healthy at the gym and pool or enjoy a walk around the grounds.

Councillor Neil Gardiner, planning convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said, “I welcome the decision taken today in approving the planning application for the new Currie Community High School. This will provide the community with a state-of-the-art sustainable high school, sports and community facilities which will meet both future educational and environmental needs.

“It’s great to see such a strong emphasis on outdoor learning with the creation of a special terrace and how the outdoor spaces will promote sustainability for the school and local community.”