We are building a new Currie Community High School. It is one of the projects in the first phase of the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme and is going to be delivered in 2024/2025.
The new school building will be designed in line with the guiding principles of the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Strategy
We are building the new school to Passivhaus standards which provides comfort but uses little energy for heating and cooling. It is aiming to be the first Passivhaus secondary school in Scotland.
Currie Learning and Community Campus will be an inviting and welcoming place where all users are greeted as they enter the building. There will be shared community spaces that are easily accessed from the main foyer throughout the day and spaces that are made available out of school hours or for hire.
The school will include a four-court sports hall, a gym hall, a fitness Suite, a dance studio, a Passivhaus four lane swimming pool and a 3G pitch. There will be a library and café alongside the fitness suite and pool which will be accessible for the community during the day. A wellness centre has been introduced by the school which can be let for activities such as yoga, parent and baby/toddler groups etc and community meetings. A meeting room in the foyer will be able to be booked as well, but the open nature of the foyer with the café lends itself to more informal, non-booked spaces for people to meet.
The school’s ambition is for the curricular areas within each learning zone to maximise the opportunities for thematic learning. Creating learning zones rather than labelling areas for a specific subject will enhance the collegiate feeling between the curricular areas. Visual links between learning spaces that are open to each other through use of breakout and shared space promotes the coming together of different subject classes in the same space.
The school’s learning zones are Expressive Arts, STEM, Languages and Humanities, Health and Wellbeing and Integrated Support.
Cross Curricular Learning
The school will have two large open plan learning plazas that are easily accessed by classrooms on all three floors. This allows classes to come together and work collaboratively on a project.
The STEM zone benefits from a learning plaza which creates a flexible space for STEM curricular areas to work together on projects enhances the learning spaces for teachers and learners to explore and create in project based thematic and cross curricular/interdisciplinary learning. The STEM learning plaza acts as a vertical visual link between the STEM curricular areas and ties the STEM learning zone together. Visual links between the floors created by void space and interior design /wayfinding will enhance the collegiate feeling of this learning zone.
For the STEM plaza brief we took inspiration from “hackerspaces”: A flexible workspace designed for people who are interested in making something together and pulling on their different skills.
For example the following curricular areas can come together to work on a project such as creating a computer game: Maths, Physics, Computing Science, Graphics/Design tech, Business, (Art and English could also be involved) the large collaborative space will allow teachers to bring these groups together in one area and will enhance the school’s collegiate approach to teaching and learning.
Storage for equipment within this flexible project space will allow staff to temporarily store project resources when using the plaza regularly for a project.
Glazing from the classroom into the breakout/plaza will create an open and vibrant learning environment and create a sense of collaborative 360 degree learning.
This space will also benefit from paired/team teaching, independent learning and can be a student and staff social or meeting space. With this in mind, the links between staff workspaces and plazas will allow staff to easily move between the spaces and enhance their thematic approach to teaching in a shared project workspace.
Languages and Humanities zone also has a learning plaza which features a debating chamber, this exciting addition was introduced into the design through consultation with the staff and students and was inspired by the debating chamber at Queensferry High School.
Internal learning spaces will be enhanced by the addition of breakout areas throughout the school building. These small areas, furnished with a variety of chairs, stools, tables and booths create informal independent or collaborative working and social spaces. They allow students and teachers the freedom to breakout of the classroom and work in a way that suits their learning style.
The new school and community building has been designed with inclusion of all it’s users in mind. Woodlands school has a very good relationship with Currie High School and the new building will offer a variety of spaces that will enhance the students’ experience.
Along with classrooms in the Integrated Support Zone will be a sensory room and nurture room. Breakout and retreat spaces support the classrooms and enhance opportunities for collaborative or independent learning or space for quiet reflection. Breakout and retreat spaces are designed in throughout the school building to offer students a choice on where they want to work, socialise or to be alone.
A private garden that is accessible from two of the classrooms creates another stimulating and peaceful space to learn in and enjoy.
How will the new school benefit the community?
Following the Scottish Government’s guiding principles for our school buildings we are designing a building and grounds that serve more than just the school but are an investment in the whole community. Our consultation with community members told us that Currie would like a welcoming intergenerational space to meet, socialise and access digital services. In response to this we have developed a design that has a welcoming atrium which is open to the community all day Monday-Friday until 10pm, at weekends and school holiday times. Within the community atrium will be a library, a café, a meeting room and access to the sports facilities. How these will operate is in development and will be set out in future communications.
As with all our school buildings CEC hope the community would like to make use of the available spaces in the building through our school lets. The new Currie Community High School also features a skills space which is a large open room that can be used for events and activities. There is also a wellness centre which is a smaller flexible space that could be let for meetings or smaller activities.
The sports facilities at the new school will be managed by Edinburgh Leisure and will include a Sports Hall, a Gym Hall, a Fitness Suite, a Dance Studio, a Swimming Pool and a 3G pitch. Gym and Swim sessions during the day Monday-Friday at designated times will be available to the community.
The school grounds will also be a shared community and school space and we hope that the community will take advantage of the exciting outdoor spaces we are proposing. In particular there is a large space in the north east of the site proposed to be kept aside for a community group(s) to use and develop for food growing and horticulture. Any interested parties please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The new Currie Community High School is being designed to promote excellence in outdoor learning. With that in mind we have introduced outdoor breakout areas from each of the learning zones for students and teachers to gain easy access to an outdoor space during their lessons.
We are also providing an allotment, a pond, and a space to explore and build the use of green technology and sustainable living. There will also be a woodland area to learn and explore in nature. Both of these spaces will have an outdoor classroom within them.
To allow outdoor access to the students on the top floor of the school, an outdoor learning terrace has been designed that will provide a kitchen garden for the Food Technology classrooms and outdoor dining area for the hospitality course. There will also be a science, geography and maths space to set up practical experiments, grow plants etc.