Deputy First Minister of Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney officially opened Midlothian’s two new primary schools, Roslin and Paradykes yesterday (Wednesday).
Mr Swinney enjoyed songs, presentations and guided tours of both buildings before unveiling plaques at each.
Paradykes incorporates a Family Learning Centre and is part of the Loanhead Centre, providing school/wrap around care, a library, medical centre, early years’ provision and leisure facilities.
First stop though was Roslin Primary, built by McLaughlan & Harvey at a cost of £6.8 million. Funded through the Schools for Future programme, the school can accommodate 267 primary pupils. It boasts an all-weather, multi-use games area.
Roslin head teacher Jo Wilson welcomed Mr Swinney along with the council’s cabinet member for education Cllr Jim Muirhead, the chief executive Dr Grace Vickers, the council’s director of education, communities and economy, Dr Mary Smith and the acting head of education Maria Lloyd.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I would like to thank Midlothian Council for inviting me along to open their two newest schools, Roslin Primary and Paradykes Primary.
“It is great to see the council’s continued commitment to their school estate and I am pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to support both projects through our £1.8 billion Schools for the Future programme which will see 117 schools replaced or refurbished by 2020.
“Both schools will now benefit from state-of-the-art accommodation that learners, staff and the whole community can be proud of.”
Dr Vickers said: “Midlothian is the fastest growing local authority in Scotland. People are coming to Midlothian to enjoy, among other benefits, our world-class schools. Closing the poverty-related attainment gap is a priority for us in Midlothian and we know that these new schools will help us in this shared endeavour.”
After hearing from Roslin pupils about their experiences in the new school and enjoying some musical entertainment, Mr Swinney then headed off to Paradykes and the Loanhead Centre, Loanhead.
Morrison Construction was the main contractor at Loanhead. The site includes an existing leisure centre and part of King George’s Field.
The cabinet member for education, Cllr Muirhead was among the welcoming party along with head teacher, Tim Wallace and Allister Short, Chief Officer of Midlothian Integrated Joint Board.
Cllr Muirhead said: “It’s great to be able to welcome the Deputy First Minister to officially open both Roslin Primary, Paradykes, part of the Loanhead Centre.
“I’m sure Mr Swinney will agree both Roslin and the Loanhead Centre are absolutely first class. Staff, pupils, partner organisations and the wider communities have all been very closely involved in the designs and layouts of both.
“We’re confident, therefore, the buildings provide the best possible learning environments for our children. They are also great additions to the communities they serve.”
The Paradykes replacement school has capacity for 489 pupils. The first project to be developed in partnership with Scottish Futures Trust, Midlothian and NHS Lothian through the Integrated Joint Board, the Loanhead Centre was built at a cost of £15.4 million.
Allister Short said: “It’s great to officially open the new centre where the council, NHS Lothian and care providers have worked together to make sure the right services are in place to support people in this fantastic facility. I believe it will be of real benefit to local residents by providing improved access to healthcare and wider support needs.
“This is another example of an effective partnership approach, good for people and good for improving the health of those living in Midlothian.”