Royal Blind School Moves to Morningside

Press Release | 24/06/2014

Embargoed until 27 June 2014

The Royal Blind School’s historic Craigmillar Park campus opens its doors to pupils for the last time today (Friday 27 June) as the school moves to a new phase at its re-developed campus in Morningside.

The school at Craigmillar Park was built in 1835 by Mr James Gall, an Edinburgh Printer. Since 1990 the Royal Blind School has operated across two campuses, one at Craigmillar Park and the other at Canaan Lane in Morningside. The two campuses have been in the process of merging over the last year. The merger will be complete by the Autumn term 2014, when all pupils will be educated at the school’s facilities in Morningside.

In the lead-up to Craigmillar Park’s last day as the location of part of the Royal Blind School, there have been a number of activities to mark the historic move. Former pupils have been invited for tours of the building, there has been a celebration event and on the last day today there is a special assembly. In addition, the pupils have been involved in a story-telling project to capture their memories of the building and to help with the transition to Morningside.

The re-development at the Morningside Campus has seen state of the art facilities introduced to suit the needs of pupils with a range of needs. As single disability blind children are today mainly catered for in mainstream education or special units run by local authorities, the pupils that the Royal Blind School will receive in future years are more likely to have complex needs in addition to their visual impairment.

Richard Hellewell, Chief Executive at Royal Blind said:

“Today marks the beginning of a new phase for the Royal Blind School. It was a difficult decision to move from Craigmillar Park as it has been part of Royal Blind for so long and holds fond memories for so many pupils, former pupils and staff. Our school building at Morningside is modern with all teaching and care facilities located on the ground floor, which is more suitable for the pupils we are likely to receive in the future.

“The re-development of the school building at Morningside, which will be complete by the time the pupils return in Autumn, is very thorough. The interior has been entirely refurbished, introducing specialist classrooms, fully equipped bathrooms for children with different disabilities and contrasting colours for pupils with low vision to be able to navigate independently.

“Our strategy for the future is to become more outward focussed and to support pupils with visual impairments in mainstream schools as well as those who attend the Royal Blind School. We are establishing a Royal Blind Resource Centre that will enable us to share our expertise and provide support and training to teachers in mainstream schools that work with visually impaired pupils.”

For more information please contact:

Davina Shiell, Marketing and Fundraising Manager, Royal Blind
Tel: 0131 229 1456 Email: davina.shiell@royalblind.org

Notes to editors:

• The Royal Blind School is a national grant aided special school that educates and cares for pupils who are blind or have a visual impairment, as well as those with additional support needs. www.royalblind.org/education
• For further information about the school’s history see http://www.royalblind.org/education/history
• For further information about the school’s re-development programme see http://www.royalblind.org/education/our-strategy
• The Royal Blind School is part of Royal Blind, a registered charity that runs services for blind and partially sighted people. Our vision at Royal Blind is to make a significant contribution to building a community in which blind and partially sighted people, including those who also have other disabilities, are fully included and lead fulfilling lives. www.royalblind.org