Pictures: A look inside the new Portobello High

Portobello High School counting down to the move into their new building.
Portobello High School counting down to the move into their new building.
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Stair crushes, punishing walks up eight flights of stairs to get to the geography department and being denied access to the lifts without a good reason.

Being a student at Portobello High School has always presented a unique set of challenges.

But now, as the community prepares to wave a long-awaited goodbye to the old Duddingston Road building, staff and pupils alike have been sharing their memories of the school.

Portobello SNP councillor Mike Bridgman left in the late 1980s and fondly remembers his time there.

“I’m a bit envious of the kids who’ll go straight into the new school without having to walk up eight floors to get to geography every morning, that was always a nightmare,” he said.

“There’s other things too like our English teacher, Ms Main. I remember her having the patience of a saint when she was dealing with a class of hyperactive teenagers.

“It’s sad in a way to see it go, I think we can all agree that it’s well past its sell-by-date, but for people like my mum, she was one of the first students in the school when it opened in 1964 and met Princess Alexandra at the grand opening, it’s been a huge part of their lives.”

Pupils will be given an extended October break to ease the transition between the two premises, with a fortnight between their departure from the old school on Wednesday before the first day at Milton Road on October 27.

Current sixth-year students Roy Urquhart, Mina Curran, Cameron McCowan and Jessie Hardie agreed it would be an emotional move after spending most of their school days in the building.

“Obviously it’s going to be strange not being in this building,” said Roy.

“But I think our new school, with the facilities it has is going to be a phenomenal place to learn and I think is going to make more pupils actually want to go to school.”

Mina added: “It is something we’re going to miss. You maybe don’t realise it at the time, but this is the place where you form your friendships and have all sorts of new experiences.

“Yes there are things, like walking all the way up to history and geography on the eighth floor, that I won’t miss, but even the smallest parts of this school, walking into certain classrooms or where in the playground you stand with your friends at break, are going to be missed.”

The new facility on Milton Road benefits from a range of modern features, many of which – including new lockers, all weather sports pitches and a brand new 25-metre swimming pool – have been posted to the school’s Twitter account.

Headteacher Ruth McKay said it would be an honour to be the first head in the new school and thanked predecessors for making the move possible.

“My first thought on moving into the new building is just an immense sense of gratitude to those before me who’ve worked to make this happen,” she said.

“It’s been such a long time coming, I think everyone is just excited for what the future holds, I can’t wait to get started.”