A NEW era is about to begin as staff and children move into the new £18.9 million Wallyford Primary School after the February break on Wednesday.

They said a fond farewell to their former school at Salters Road, taking to the stage with a final drama production Robin and the Sherwood Hoodies.

The final lessons were taught last Friday before headteacher Mhairi Stratton led a procession out of the school to the gates.

The size and scale of new house building in the area meant the school was no longer able to meet the needs of the community.

Land was secured on the east side of the town as part of the St Clement’s Wells development to create a new campus to offer room for modern educational facilities for a growing school population, surrounded by plenty of outdoor space.

East Lothian Council’s development partner, Hub South East, was responsible for delivering the project and appointed Morrison Construction as the contractor. The project received a £4.5m grant from the Scottish Government’s Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme.

The finished building offers “a light-filled and airy space” which has been planned to maximise children’s opportunities for learning.

A “muted palette of colours” has been used throughout the school, providing “a calm environment for learning” while echoing the landscapes that surround it.

Open-plan spaces enable shared learning alongside quiet and more private spaces and meeting rooms.

The building provides 28 classrooms and a further four nursery playrooms offering up to 120 spaces.

Retractable bleacher style seating has been included in the large sports hall for whole school assemblies, events or performances. The outside space includes all-weather pitches, basketball hoops, landscaping and grassed areas. The school also includes resources for wider use by the community, including a new library which is currently being completed internally.

The nursery area has its own entrance and features four large playrooms, each equipped with a kitchen, and toilet facilities are built around a shared space that can be used for dining or parent events. Each room has access to the outdoor space.

Fiona Robertson, head of education at East Lothian Council, said: “This is an exciting time for children, families and staff at Wallyford Primary School.

“The new school offers great scope for shared learning and community use, offering benefits to the wider area too. Great consideration has been given to every aspect of the design to maximise the opportunities for children and I look forward to seeing all of the children settle in to their new space.”

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, cabinet spokesperson for education, said: “Wallyford is undergoing a period of change with significant investment in the area.

“The council has rightly secured contributions from housebuilders towards new facilities and infrastructure.

“The new school building brings together the primary, nursery and library in a single, modern space providing a focus for the whole community. As well as the spacious and welcoming interior, I’m also pleased to see the large amounts of outdoor space that the children have to explore – from sports pitches to planted courtyards.

“I’d like to thank Mhairi Stratton, her staff, pupils and the parent council for their input and support throughout the project. I wish them all many happy and successful years in the new Wallyford Primary School.”

Ms Stratton said: “This building will bring so much joy and opportunity to the Wallyford community. It is all we could of hoped for and more.

“I have been very impressed at how project designers have taken on board the children’s ideas and turned them into a reality. This is a very special place.”

The school also got the thumbs-up from pupils, who are excited at settling into their new environment.

Alex Hill said: “Everyone will be very happy here. It is so colourful.”

Rory Paton said: “I really like our new school. It was very exciting to see our classrooms and the cool furniture.”

Tayla Paton added: “It is amazing. I love everything about it. Lots of people are excited about the playground. There are lots of fun things to do.”

No decision has yet been taken on what will happen to the former school