Pupils could be back in fire-hit school in February

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fire peeblesImage source, @1Rigz

The first pupils could return to the fire-damaged Peebles High School in February, Scottish Borders Council has revealed.

Part of the school was badly damaged by fire last month and pupils have been taught at a range of sites across the Border since.

Council chief executive Tracey Logan said they were "aiming" to move some pupils back to the school in February.

But she added further work was needed before they can confirm this.

Pupils in S4 to S6 will sit prelim exams in the schools games hall complex, which was unaffected by the fire, in January.

This will include all those exams postponed following the fire.

A council report has revealed that large areas of the school, including the gym, changing rooms, art department and the additional support needs areas were gutted by the fire, and will need to be demolished.

Addressing a meeting of Scottish Borders Council, Ms Logan said: "We have managed to continue with the seven sites we have in Peebles for the rest of January, during which time we are hoping to start to get real progress on site with services to enable us to get as many children, and hopefully all of the children, from Peebles High School back on site as soon as possible.

"We're aiming to do some of that in February, but I don't want to commit to those dates until I'm absolutely sure that we can do that."

Media caption,

Drone footage shows Peebles High School fire damage

During the meeting, councillors also agreed to fund an options appraisal process for the high school with £100,000.

Council leader Shona Haslam, who represents Tweeddale East, said: "There's no greater fear for a parent than when their child is phoning them up to tell them that the high school is on fire, and the fire that that brings to you as a parent is something I never want to have to go through ever again.

"Huge kudos to the community, as well as to the high school which has put on all of the dances for the children, to the coffee shops which are donating baked goods to the teachers, to the children and staff who dealt with the situation with calmness, resolve, and resilience."

Two boys have been charged in connection with the fire.

Image source, Scottish Borders Council
Image caption,
The school was badly damaged by fire on 28 November