Portobello High School

Portobello High School is a large secondary school in Portobello in the east of Edinburgh. With over 1400 pupils[3] it is one of the largest state schools in Edinburgh and Scotland. The headteacher is Ruth McKay.

Portobello High School
The Portobello High School from 2016.
1 Milton Road, Edinburgh, Scotland EH15 3BY

United Kingdom
Coordinates55°56′40.71″N 3°6′47.47″W
MottoLatin: Ope Et Consilio
School districtCity of Edinburgh
PrincipalRuth McKay[1]
HousesAbercorn, Brunstane, Crichton and Duddingston
Yellow, Blue, Red and Green
WebsiteOfficial school website


In early 2006, the City of Edinburgh Council engaged professional consultants to conduct a feasibility study on possible sites for the redevelopment of Portobello High School. This led to a statutory educational consultation, as well as a public consultation, on three possible options.[4] The resulting report[5] of the consultation was approved by the Council in December 2006. In December 2008, the City of Edinburgh Council committed £41M to the redevelopment of the school on the site identified by the 2006 consultation. The building was demolished by June 2017. The new school opened on Milton Road in October 2016, less than a mile away from the original site.[6][7]

A design team was appointed in early 2009[8] with a planning application for the new school made in 2010. Planning permission was granted in early 2011 after an extensive pre-planning consultation programme. On 16 September 2011, Balfour Beatty were announced as the preferred choice to be awarded the contract to build the new school. Balfour Beatty delayed signing the contract until legal action was resolved relating to the place where the school was built.[9]

There were two campaigns in relation to the building of the school; in favour of a new school, but recognising the difficulty of finding a satisfactory site, was Portobello for a New School (PFANS).[10] In September 2012, the Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG) which was also keen for a new school but not on the site finally chosen, won its case to prevent building a new school on common land in Portobello.[11]

The City of Edinburgh Council then promoted a Private Bill[12] which was approved by the Scottish Parliament[13] providing powers[14] to use the Park for its functions as an education authority which allowed construction of the new school to begin in October 2014.[15]

The buildings in Duddingston Road were demolished between January and June 2017 in preparation for the construction of a new building for St John's Primary School. The new building was occupied from 20 August 2018, and the old St John's was demolished on 18 December 2018 ready for the site to be made into the Treverlen public park[16] to replace the park land used to build the new Portobello High School on Milton Road.

Notable former pupils


  1. "Portobello HS". Portobellohighschool.org.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  2. "List of Primary Schools with pupil roll information as at September 2012" (XLSX). Scotland.gov.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  3. http://portobellohighschool.org.uk/
  4. "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 26 July 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 July 2012.
  5. "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 26 July 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 July 2012.
  6. "Treverlen – Everything about the Treverlen development". www.treverlen.org.uk.
  7. "New school opens after legal wrangle in Edinburgh". BBC Online. BBC News. 27 October 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  8. "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 26 July 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 July 2012.
  9. "Balfour Beatty set for Portobello High School construction contract". Edinburgh.gov.uk. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  10. "PFANS chair in council role". Edinburgh Evening News. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  11. "Campaigners against building new school on land in Portobello win appeal". BBC Online. BBC News. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  12. Local and personal Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom
  13. "Parliament passes bill for new Portobello High School". BBC Online. BBC news. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  14. "City of Edinburgh Council (Portobello Park) Act 2014". www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  15. "Turf to be cut for new Portobello High School". The Scotsman. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  16. "The New Building for St John's Primary School". Treverlen. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  17. https://www.alumni.hw.ac.uk/alumni-profile-alex-balfour
  18. "Ian Bell, award-winning Scottish journalist, dies aged 59". The Guardian. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  19. John-Paul Holden; Laura Cummings (19 September 2012). "Portobello High School ruling: Porty parents eye trust plan". The Scotsman. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  20. "Interview: Phil Cunningham". The Scotsman. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
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