The Head Teacher of Preston Lodge High School has written to parents/carers providing an update in relation to building works and classrooms being brought back into use.

Dear student/parent/carer

S1 Learning Update 14

I am delighted to be writing with a clear plan for the return of S1s full-time to Preston Lodge.

Building update

Good progress continues to be made with remedial work to address our school’s building defects. As you will be aware, some parts of the school building remain closed as a precautionary measure, due to faults in some Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC). 

As a result of the phased re-commissioning process, three maths classrooms were brought back into use after the October break. We are now confident that seven art and biology classrooms will also be back in operation from 20 November and, going forward, we anticipate our RME, French, Computing and Business Education classrooms will be available for use from January. PE facilities at Preston Lodge are expected to come back into use from 1 March (following expected completion of works in February) and all PE lessons will continue to take place at Meadowmill until that point.

While delays are always possible in building work, we remain encouraged by the progress that is being made, and we are grateful for the continuation of close and effective partnership working between East Lothian Council, Innovate East Lothian Ltd and FES FM Ltd.

I am pleased to let you know that the phased return of classrooms will now allow us to bring S1 students back into the PL building full-time over the course of the week beginning 20 November, other than for PE. We will gradually phase out off-site Home Rooms over that week, and all students will be full-time accommodated in Preston Lodge from Friday 24 November onwards. This is great news, and a detailed timeline appears below.

Timeline for S1 return

S1 students will have a phased start to their full-time learning at PL, to allow us to carefully manage the transfer of students, rooms and materials. The timeline will be as follows:


Off-site Location

Last day in off-site Home Room

First day full-time in PL building



Friday 17 November

Monday 20 November



Friday 17 November

Monday 20 November



Friday 17 November

Monday 20 November


Longniddry PS

Monday 20 November

Tuesday 21 November


St Gabriel’s PS

Monday 20 November

Tuesday 21 November


Cockenzie PS

Tuesday 21 November

Wednesday 22 November


Cockenzie PS

Tuesday 21 November

Wednesday 22 November


Preston Tower PS

Wednesday 22 November

Thursday 23 November

How will S1 learning be organised for the remainder of this session?

We have identified many real positives in Home Room learning, and over the remainder of S1 we will retain some Home Room time. This will allow students to make further progress with their project-based learning and benefit from a consistent point of contact within the school for their remainder of the school year, as we gradually increase subject time.

Building uncertainty remains, with work ongoing, but our provisional planning is as follows:

Phase 1

Weeks beginning 20.11, 27.11 and 04.12

S1 Home Rooms move into PL, maintaining the same timetable, to allow students to settle in. Details of reorganised classes, which will start 11.12 shared with students and families.

Phase 2

Week beginning 11.12

S1 students start the week in new class groups, based on original class lists shared in June 2023, with small adjustments made to allow us to better meet student learning needs. Home Room teachers will change for many students in this week.

Phase 3

January 2024

Student Home Room time to be reduced, and more periods of subject learning to be included in student timetables. Details to be confirmed closer to the time. A change in Home Room teachers for some students.

Phase 4

February 2024

Student Home Room time to be further reduced, maximising subject teaching opportunities, based on existing staffing. Subject time adjusted in line with the normal S1 experience, based on available staffing, to ensure students enter S2 with all key S1 outcomes achieved.

Further practicalities

From the first day of students being full-time in Preston Lodge, the contract buses which have been moving students to and from Cockenzie and Longniddry to PL will stop. From that first day as a full-time student, any students from those two catchment areas who require transport will use our normal school buses at the beginning and end of the school day.

Likewise, from the first day of full-time schooling at PL, packed lunches will not be provided for S1 students. Instead, we will revert to students being able to use our canteen, bring a packed lunch, go home for lunch or visit local shops to buy lunch.

Once S1 students are full-time at PL we will ask them to walk unaccompanied to and from PE lessons at Meadowmill, as our S2-6 students do. This takes 12 minutes, and has been designated as a safe walking route by East Lothian Council. It is an approach that has worked well for S2-6 students, and we do not anticipate any problems with this for S1 students. We would ask, however, that students make sure they have a jacket with them – if it raining then students still need to make that walk, because we have no PE facilities at PL until after works are completed in February.

Over recent weeks we have been planning wet weather bus transport for students moving between Prestonpans Home Rooms and PL. Now, with less than two weeks until students start full-time learning at PL, it does not make sense to progress those plans, and we will continue with supervised walking between Prestonpans Home Rooms and PL. Should the weather be particularly wet we will, of course, make adjustments as necessary, but as a general rule students should always bring a jacket to school in case of light rain.

Student Wellbeing

Student wellbeing is our top priority, and although this is an exciting development, we understand that some students may feel anxious about leaving their off-site Home Rooms.  Home Room teachers and Guidance teachers will be checking in with students regularly over this time, and we would ask any family members who have concerns about their child’s transition to full-time learning at PL to get in touch with us, either via their child’s guidance teacher, or by simply emailing and requesting a conversation. Working together, we will be able to overcome any challenges.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone for their patience and understanding, and for the great support we have received in this work. This has always been a strong community, but I am convinced that we will emerge from this challenging period strengthened as a school, because of the close partnership working and collaborative approaches that have now become the norm. We now look forward to more parts of our building becoming operational again in the weeks ahead.

Best wishes

Gavin Clark


Preston Lodge High School

Published: Friday, 10th November 2023