Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Gardens and orchards, willow dens and outdoor theatres – Tain campus looks set to be greenest in Highland

Tain 3-18 campus
An artist's impression shows extensive green space around the planned new Tain campus. Drawing produced by Stallan Brand Architects

Tain’s long-awaited community campus is up for planning permission next week – and it’s flying the flag for outdoor learning.

If approved, it will be the first school built to ‘passivhaus’ standards in the Highlands.

Fans of Grand Designs will be familiar with the passivhaus – a building so energy-efficient it uses barely any heating.

The Tain 3-18 campus will include a nursery, primary school, high school, playgrounds and sports facilities. It will sit on a sloping site on Craighill Terrace next to the existing health centre and care home, with views across the Dornoch Firth.

Artist’s impressions show a two-storey design featuring wooden cladding and extensive landscaping.

Bespoke landscaping

Highland Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and Tain looks set to be a flagship school build for the local authority.

The grounds will feature ‘bespoke landscaping’ including an orchard, which planners say will add a green layer between the school and the town.

Drawing produced by Stallan Brand Architects  

Highland Council has designed the outdoor space for learning, play, sports and socialising. Planned features include a woodland and growing garden, willow dens, timber trails, nest swing, wheelchair roundabout and even an outdoor amphitheatre.

Classes will be encouraged to spill outside for extra lessons outdoors or to eat lunch at the timber benches and canopies.

However, the school build is not without its issues. The council acknowledges that the site is “challenging” because it’s a tight, hilly space with a constricted road network.

Some local residents are concerned about increased traffic on Craighill Terrace and about access to the medical centre. The council says it is likely to invest more into local road improvements including widening the footpath.

The council will put together a detailed active travel plan to encourage walking and cycling to school.

Long-awaited new schools

The campus is a long-awaited project for the people of Tain. It replaces Knockbreck and Craighill primary schools and Tain Royal Academy, as well as local Gaelic schools and St Duthus special school.

Tain Royal Academy. Photo: Sandy McCook.

The new campus will include a Gaelic provision and specialist education unit for up to 24 pupils with additional support needs.

The school will have grassed sports pitches and a MUGA – but there will be no swimming pool yet. The council says High Life Highland will keep the pool open at Tain Royal Academy until a new facility is provided.

The planning report also states that Craighill Primary School will stay open until the new campus is complete. After that, Highland Council will demolish the building and consider the site for future parking space.

The Tain campus proposal goes to planning committee on Tuesday April 26.

More from the Schools and Family team

Revealed: The north-east schools that haven’t been inspected for 18 years

Real Life Parenting Dilemmas: What if MY child is the bully?

‘They’re called care homes but they don’t care’ – why Highland hopes to move away from children’s homes

Already a subscriber? Sign in