HISTORY was made yesterday (Wednesday) when the first generation of pupils started at East Lothian’s newest school.

Wallyford’s Rosehill High School is part of the new £47.2 million Wallyford Learning Campus.

The new facility has has been built on farmland west of Mason’s Way amidst major new housebuilding in the area.

It brings together the school – which will have a projected future roll of more than 1,000 pupils – and further education, library and community facilities with health and wellbeing services.

Surrounded by three synthetic pitches lined for football, rugby and hockey, and two grass sports pitches, the landscaped grounds include separate gardens for The Brae, Rosehill’s provision for young people with severe and complex needs, and for the community playgroup’s area.

There is a Community Agriculture Academy which will be used by SRUC to deliver qualifications from the site. Edinburgh College is part of the campus site, offering construction qualifications.

East Lothian Courier: The south side of th new Wallyford Learning Campus. Photo: Angus BathgateThe south side of th new Wallyford Learning Campus. Photo: Angus Bathgate

A dedicated STEAM centre bringing together facilities and learning in Science, Technology, Arts and Maths with rooms for science, technical subjects such as craft and design, English, art, drama and music has also been provided.

The first pupils were welcomed to the school on Wednesday, following on from two in-service days which gave the new staff teams the chance to prepare and become familiar with the spaces.

Rosehill is the county’s first new secondary school since the rebuilding of Preston Lodge High School at Prestonpans in 1969 after a fire. The last major building project was Dunbar Grammar School’s extension which opened in 2019. The last brand new primary school was Letham Mains in Haddington which opened in 2021.

The initial 300-strong intake at Rosehill, forming the S1-S3 grouping, is made up of former P7 classes from its catchment area - nearby Wallyford Primary School and Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School in Musselburgh, as well as former S1 and S2 pupils from Musselburgh Grammar School. The roll will grow with the start of each new academic term as new S1s join and the existing year groups progress up through the school. As each year group moves up through the school it will eventually have full S1-S6 provision. There are also out of catchment placements and young people with severe and complex needs from across East Lothian attending the specialist provision, The Brae.

Initially there are 50 members of staff, with staffing levels growing in line with pupil numbers including support staff and teachers.

East Lothian Courier: Gail Preston, head teacher at the new Rosehill High School, welcomed the first intake of pupils this weekGail Preston, head teacher at the new Rosehill High School, welcomed the first intake of pupils this week

Gail Preston, Rosehill’s headteacher, said: “This has been a start of term like no other, with over 300 young people and 50 staff transitioning to Rosehill High School. It’s been a huge team effort to ensure that the incredible facilities on the campus are ready for their arrival.

“We began the week with two welcome days for staff, exploring topics such as vision, values, relational approaches and what we refer to as The Rosehill Way.

“From Wednesday, pupils enjoyed their own welcome days, with opportunities to get to know their classmates, familiarise themselves with the each faculty, and begin to understand the routines and high expectations across the school.”

She added: “We are very lucky with our beautiful environment; but a school is not just a building. It’s the people that work within it. After a lengthy and demanding recruitment process, I am confident that we have exactly the right team to support everyone in our community to be the best version of themselves.

“We look forward to continuing to expand our provision across the campus as more of our partners move in over the next few months.”

East Lothian Courier: Councillor Norman Hampshire, East Lothian Council leader, right, with Philip Galbraith, project director, Morrison Construction, left, and Scott Brown, project director, Hub South East, centre, at the official 'hand-over'Councillor Norman Hampshire, East Lothian Council leader, right, with Philip Galbraith, project director, Morrison Construction, left, and Scott Brown, project director, Hub South East, centre, at the official 'hand-over'

Councillor Norman Hampshire, East Lothian Council leader, said: “Wallyford Learning Campus fulfils our ambition to make sure that the benefits of development are widely felt across East Lothian from high quality, modern schools to spaces for communities.

“The building and its grounds have been designed to maximise opportunities for people of all ages and interests and act as a hub for community activities and initiatives.

“It’s a key part of our ambition for a dynamic, thriving East Lothian that enables our people and communities to flourish.”

Designed to offer “inspiring, multi-use spaces that benefit learners and the wider community,” the development received funding as part of phase one of the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP).

East Lothian Council’s development partner Hub South East appointed Morrison Construction as main contractor for the project and architects firm JM Architects undertook design works.

East Lothian Courier: The sports building at the new Wallyford Learning Campus. Photo: Angus Bathgate

Works will now continue to the internal areas to establish the spaces ready for phased opening.

The Margaret Oliphant Library is moving from its current location within Wallyford Primary School. This facility will first open to Rosehill pupils only but will open to the general public outwith school hours from mid-September, and will then work towards shared access throughout the day.

The internal and external sports areas are expected to open in October and Wallyford Community Centre on November 6. East Lothian Health and Social Care’s community based support for older people and adults with complex needs is due to open in November.

East Lothian Courier: The sports ground on the north side of the new Wallyford Learning Campus. Photo: Angus BathgateThe sports ground on the north side of the new Wallyford Learning Campus. Photo: Angus Bathgate

The sports pitches will be available for public use and bookings are expected to open in October.

Justin Hynd and Ann Patton, co-chairs of Wallyford Community Council, issued a joint statement on behalf of the group, saying: “The opening of Rosehill secondary school and Wallyford Learning Campus is incredibly exciting and having a state of the art learning, sports and community facility will be of huge benefit to not only the village but the wider local area.”

Wallyford resident, Alister Hadden, who retired earlier this year after 25 years service with Wallyford Community Council, described the new learning campus as “a flagship of education” for youngsters in the area, East Lothian and and beyond.

Situated near the new Wallyford Primary School, he added that it had “almost every conceivable facility available” to give its pupils a “first class” education and “the best start in life.”

East Lothian Courier: A seating area at Rosehill High School. Twitter @RosehillHS A seating area at Rosehill High School. Twitter @RosehillHS

He added: “I would like to congratulate all those who have brought it from inception to fruition which is a massive achievement. I wish the new head teacher, staff and pupils every success going forward and into the future.”

Reflecting on how education in the village had changed over time, he recalled that pupils at the primary school in the 1940s used chalk and slate boards to write, and occupied four classrooms.

“Then at the age of eight you went from Wallyford Primary School to Crookston School which was situated between Wallyford, Whitecraig and Smeaton. Pupils from these three villages were educated there. There were also four classrooms but we used pen and ink pots to write, and do our calculations. We remained with the same teacher which, in my case and classmates, was Miss Stoddart for our four years until we left at 12-years-old to go to Musselburgh Grammar School to complete our education, leaving at 15-years-old,” said Mr Hadden.

Suzanne Laidlaw, speaking on behalf of the Wallyford Gala team, commented: “We wish all the new pupils and staff a very happy experience, and hope they enjoy the fresh start. They are very lucky to be part of the first staff and pupils to experience the new high school.

“The building looks amazing and I hope it really brings the village together, and there is lots of new experiences for everyone living within the Wallyford community.”

East Lothian Courier: Rosehill High School's main reception. Twitter @RosehillHS Rosehill High School's main reception. Twitter @RosehillHS

Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North & Musselburgh, said: “I would like to send my congratulations and wish the best of luck to the staff and pupils on the opening of Rosehill High School within the Wallyford Learning Campus. This marks a significant moment in the history of the growing community of Wallyford and the neighbouring areas of Musselburgh and Levenhall which it will serve.

“The new facility will offer a state-of-the-art educational setting providing excellent learning and development opportunities for the new students. Recognition should be given to the partnership between the Scottish Government, East Lothian Council and their development partners in the successful delivery of this magnificent new secondary school.”

East Lothian MP, Kenny MacAskill, commented: “It’s a pivotal moment - a school is at the heart of a community. It weds the new community to the old. It’s an asset for young and old. Good luck to all.”

Scott Brown, Hub South East’s project director, said reaching completion of the new campus was a “fantastic achievement, adding: “As well as providing a state-of-the-art educational setting, it’s a real collaborative asset for East Lothian, allowing the development of community, further education and business partnerships that will leave a lasting legacy.

“This was the first LEIP project to start on site in Scotland and is the first secondary school to be delivered through this new Scottish Government programme.”

David Ewing, managing director, Morrison Construction Central, commented: “The whole team are proud to have been a part of this fantastic project which has created the first-class educational facility that the staff and students at Rosehill deserve.”