Aberdeen’s ground-breaking new £18.5 million school is all set for the new term

Aberdeen’s newest school opened its doors today (Tuesday 15 August) for an advance look at its fantastic facilities ahead of the new term which begins next week.

The £18.5 million Centre of Excellence, Orchard Brae School is the first of its kind in Scotland and will be a hub for best practice in supporting pupils with Additional Support Needs (ASN).from across Aberdeen

As well as functioning as a school, Orchard Brae will act as a community hub for families, ASN parents / groups and charities to access, as well as a hub for outreach services such as speech and language and autism support.

The innovative development will also provide a new resource centre for ASN teaching and training and a multi-agency facility for health, education, social work and family support.

Orchard Brae school boasts a swimming pool, a hydrotherapy pool, soft play and sensory rooms, Wildlife and growing gardens and specialist art and home economic areas as well as specially designed play areas.

Adjoining the school is the pioneering Howes Hoose which supports pupils to learn about independent living, with a bedroom, kitchen and living space where the children can develop life skills in a home setting.

Aberdeen City Council Leader, Councillor Jenny Laing, who was given a tour of Orchard Brae today said: “It’s fantastic to be able to visit such an amazing facility, the first of its kind in Scotland, right here in Aberdeen. This is more than a school; it’s a Centre for Excellence that is leading the way nationally as a central point from which children and young people who have additional support needs, and their families, can access support and guidance from a range of partners.”

Caroline Stirton, the Executive Head Teacher at Orchard Brae said: “This is such a proud day for me personally and everyone connected with Orchard Brae. We’ve put in so much hard work, research thought and planning into the design of the Centre of Excellence and we are really looking forward to welcoming our pupils and their parents to their new school.”

Gayle Gorman, Director of Education and Children’s Services: “Orchard Brae will lead the way in Scotland in the provision of education for children additional support needs. It’s brilliant to see the tangible rewards of our hard work in bringing this fantastic facility to Aberdeen and I’ve also got to pay tribute to Caroline for her commitment to the project.

“This Centre of Excellence will be central to improving educational outcomes for pupils for generations to come.”

Orchard Brae School will provide education and support for up to 150 full-time children and young people aged 3 to 18 years, with severe and complex educational and medical needs, from across Aberdeen, and replaces Woodlands School and Hazelwood School. A pre-school additional support service, previously provided in Seaton School, will also be relocated to the new facility.