PLANS for 24 open plan classrooms in the rebuild of Peebles High School (PHS) continue to cause concern for parents.

The issue was raised at this month’s meeting of Peebles Community Council (PCC).

PCC member Heather Young said: “Only 17 of 41 classrooms will be fully enclosed and this is a big issue for many parents.

“I have spoken to many educational professionals and they all say that open plan does not work for autistic and many other children.

“Scottish Borders Council has an inclusion framework that says children should be in mainstream schools, how does this work with what’s planned?”

“The rationale is to have a flexible space but you can have moveable doors and walls.

“Some schools built in the last seven years are having to fix these problems later.”

The PHS Parent Council lead on the build, Tristan Compton, said: “We don’t understand where the idea for open plan classrooms came from.”

PHS project manager Steven Renwick said: “I find it slightly frustrating that the term open plan is used.

“We have tried to describe the different teaching spaces in the school, from closed, semi-open to open.

“Some learning can allow children to move beyond the closed space.”

A member of the public said he had spent time in schools and that the plans for PHS looked “more like a college”.

He added: “Young people (at school) almost need to be enclosed in a space.”

Former Kingsland head teacher Jacqueline Wilson – who retired in 2021 and was in charge at the school when it was going through a similar process – said: “You have to be flexible in your head.

“If you are going to write a paper it has to be backed up with research.

“That is how we obtained the open and flexible space we needed in Kingsland.

“We worked collaboratively with the design team and saw where flexible spaces work and where they do not.

“PHS is educating children for jobs that do not exist yet.”

PCC chairman Peter Maudsley said: “When the school is completed it needs to be at least as good if not better than what we have now. The people of Peebles need to see that their views are collated and that they can see where any changes are made.”