Henry Hepburn

Building a school from the ground up

It sounds like a dream: the chance to start from scratch with hand-picked teachers in a state-of-the-art building where the rule book doesn’t need to be ripped up because it hasn’t even been written yet. But how do you plan for a school’s future when it has no past? Henry Hepburn visits Scotland’s first new secondary in decades ahead of its opening next year, and meets a headteacher with a lot to think about

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This could be the most exciting school in Scotland to work in – or, for the same reason, the scariest. New recruits can’t ask anyone “How do we do that here?” because of one simple fact: Bertha Park High School doesn’t exist yet.

Scotland’s first brand-new secondary in nearly two decades will open its doors to pupils in August next year, but the building is still a shell. Exposed masonry is draped in vast expanses of green plastic netting that flaps in the wind, giving the impression of a dishevelled Pompidou Centre.

Already, however, Bertha Park has three teachers who are embracing what they ...

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