Education Secretary visits site of new Perth High School

The Scottish Government’s Education Secretary, Jenny Gilruth MSP was on site today (Wednesday 17 May 2023) at the new £80m Perth High School to see the progress to date, joined by officials and elected members from Perth & Kinross Council, and representatives from Robertson Construction Tayside and hub East Central Scotland.

Perth High School is being delivered by Robertson Construction Tayside on behalf of hub East Central Scotland and is being built to Passivhaus standards*.  Set to accommodate up to 1,600 pupils and 140 staff over 3- storeys, the new school is being constructed on the site of the existing High school which will be demolished and transformed to provide a 3G sports pitch, multi-use games area (MUGA) and a cycle pump track when the new building is completed in 2025. 

Preliminary works commenced on the site in February 2023, and the concrete piling of the structure is currently being installed.

Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth said: “It’s a pleasure to be at the new Perth High School to see the substantial progress being made. Thousands of students from across the Perthshire area will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities that provide an optimum learning environment whilst supporting our net zero ambitions.

“The Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme will invest £2 billion in Scottish schools, in partnership with local authorities, ensuring many of our young people are learning in the schools of the future.”

Councillor John Rebbeck, Perth & Kinross Council’s Learning and Families Convener, said: “The new Perth High School is a key element in our strategy for improving the learning estate here in Perth and Kinross. The significant investment we are making at Perth High School and at other schools and facilities across the Council area enhances the learning environment, providing modern fit for purpose facilities. It also reflects our aim to meet low-carbon targets within new developments, reducing our environmental impact.

“I’m delighted that the Education Secretary is able to join us today to see the progress being made on this major project and I look forward to seeing the new Perth High School occupied by staff and pupils in 2025.”

Stephen Long who leads the Learning Estate Infrastructure team at the Scottish Futures Trust, said: “In managing the new Learning Estate Investment Programme, our focus is on working with our partners to deliver high quality, well maintained, digitally-enabled buildings that achieve ambitious energy targets.

“Perth & Kinross Council has embraced that focus with this new school being designed and built to achieve Passivhaus accreditation, which as well as lowering energy consumption, should also provide excellent ventilation and comfortable temperatures all year round. This demonstrates Perth and Kinross Council’s continued commitment to reducing building related carbon emissions for the benefit of the community.”

Brian McQuade, Chief Operating Officer, Robertson Group, commented: “It is our pleasure to welcome the Education Secretary and officials from Perth and Kinross Council to the site today.  As the delivery partner of choice for the new school and having worked so closely with the Council to deliver for its education portfolio over several years, we fully understand the importance of environments to encourage pupil attainment and the drive for a low carbon agenda.

“The school will be one of the largest Passivhaus projects in Scotland to date, and we have been working closely with the Council and the wider design team to ensure that this is a Passivhaus compliant building.  Not only will this be a high-quality building, but it will support and enhance the experience of learners utilising a ‘fabric first’ and heat recovery approach in its construction that will deliver against the low carbon agenda.”

Gary Bushnell, Chief Executive, hub East Central Scotland, who manage the project for the Council, said: “We have worked closely with Perth & Kinross Council and partners from the inception of this project and it is great to see work now progressing well on site.  The team looks forward to delivering what will be our 8th new school project for the Council over recent years, providing another high-quality sustainable facility that will serve the community for many years to come."

Designed by NORR Architects, the new school has a main double height entrance with linear cellular classroom spaces arranged around circulation cores and a series of larger flexible areas for a variety of uses.  The dining and social space will be triple height in parts and enjoys a direct, visual and physical, connection with the external recreational area.

At the heart of the new school, and the focal point of the building, is a multi-purpose auditorium, adjacent to the main entrance providing a dynamic waiting space and arrival point which will be flooded in natural light due to a series of roof lights which will be positioned between the roof trusses that span the triple height space.  A series of principal staircases will encourage efficient pupil movement, with only short distances to travel to enable movement from one department to another, further reinforcing the sense of community within the school.

With a ground internal floor area of 15,934m², Perth High School will achieve a high level of thermal efficiency and airtightness as a result of carefully detailed interfaces during the construction phase. The new school is expected to complete in June 2025.


*Passivhaus sets exacting standards for building design, where energy saving measures and providing a comfortable environment are an integral part of the process. Energy standards are achieved through exceptionally high standards of fabric construction and a carefully considered mechanical and electrical equipment strategy.