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Schools

Torry pupils and staff thriving in state-of-the-art new Greyhope School

We visited the new Greyhope School in Torry, where pupils and staff recently relocated from the old Walker Road School. We left every bit as impressed with the new facility as them. reports.
Calum Petrie
Head teacher Ross Watson outside the school
Head teacher Ross Watson outside the new Greyhope School and Community Hub. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Not many schools have underfloor heating in every classroom. But that’s just one of the features of the new Greyhope School in Torry that makes it one of the most state-of-the-art in the country.

The P&J was given a tour of the £23 million Greyhope School and Community Hub, now that pupils and staff have settled in.

The school community relocated from Walker Road School after the October holidays as the grand old building shut its doors for the last time.

Aberdeen’s newest school has room for up to 434 primary pupils and 100 nursery children.

Inside the school
Walker Road was ‘charming’, but the move to Greyhope brings the school into the 21st century. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

New Greyhope School a hub for all of Torry

And as a community hub, it has a range of facilities including a café, learning and health services, housing support, and a Shmu radio studio.

Torry Library has relocated there, as has Big Noise Torry.

As for the school itself, it is very much a place of learning for the 21st century.

Every classroom is soundproofed and has underfloor heating (I could feel it through my shoes).

And the building is full of modern quirks such as snug break-out pods complete with USB ports.

A classroom with colourful chairs and decorations
All classrooms are soundproofed and have underfloor heating. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Having manned the ship during a “huge change” for the school community, head teacher Ross Watson couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the new school environment.

“It’s been a terrific experience for everybody, for the children and the staff.

“Obviously a big change for everybody connected with Walker Road School.

“Walker Road had been in the heart of the community for over 100 years, and now we’re in something brand new here.

“It’s a big undertaking, taking a whole community to a new location, but it’s been a success. It was all carefully planned.”

Greyhope School ‘a better place to come in the morning’

Torry Library
Torry Library has relocated to the community hub at Greyhope School. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

He added: “The staff are all delighted, it’s a better place to come in the morning, definitely.

“I remember towards the end of our time at Walker Road I was coming up here a lot to do prep work, and every time I visited I just felt infinitely happier because it was just a lovely environment.”

The benefit of Greyhope being a community hub, and not just a school, is not lost on Mr Watson.

“The fact that we have a public library under the same roof is a massive opportunity and one that we’re beginning to realise the potential of.

“Our classes visit the library regularly, and there’s a school library as well, and together it allows us to build a real culture of reading.

“But the whole building is just a lot more suited to purpose now.”

Greyhope School head teacher Ross Watson
Greyhope School head teacher Ross Watson. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

‘Walker Road had a soul, but we’ve taken what was special about it with us’

I asked Mr Watson whether he missed Walker Road.

“Walker Road was a charming building, it definitely had a soul about it,” he said.

“You walked into Walker Road and you could feel Torry, you could feel the community spirit.

“But I feel we’ve brought a lot of that with us to Greyhope.

“There’s been moments the last few months when we’ve really felt the Walker Road community pull together.

“So lots of what made Walker Road special we’ve taken with us.”

Kids loving ‘all the new and improved technology’

I chatted to P7 pupils Israel Oladokun, Layla Kelly and Ola Wadyl to get their thoughts on the new school.

Three Greyhope School P7 pupils sitting at a classroom table
P7 pupils Layla Kelly, Ola Wadyl and Israel Oladokun are loving life at the new Greyhope School. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

They’re based on the top floor with views out over the city (“they get a real sense of their city up here,” said Mr Watson).

As with myself, Israel was most impressed with the sheer modernity of the school.

“I like all the new and improved technology,” he said.

“That wasn’t as good at Walker Road, sometimes things like the smartboards didn’t work, which made it harder to learn.

“Now we’re in a new school, everything is a lot better and learning has been a lot easier.”

The library in Greyhope School
The school library. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

‘I don’t miss all the stairs at Walker Road!’

Ola Wadyl said: “Just having a new, fresh space is great.

“Walker Road was very old, and not as clean and fresh. I like how everything’s so new here.

“And I don’t miss all the stairs at Walker Road. There were over 200 steps so it was like having a workout four times a day!”

And Layla Kelly added: “I do miss the memories we made at Walker Road. I’d been there since I was in nursery. But the facilities here are a lot better, like the football pitch.”

Kathleen Mulloy is chairwoman of Greyhope School parent council.

Like Mr Watson and his pupils, she thinks that as well-loved as Walker Road was, Greyhope School is a huge leap forward for the community.

‘We didn’t have any of these facilities down the road’

The football pitch
Big hit: The new football pitches. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

“It’s been a busy term and a bit, pretty full-on. But the kids have settled really well and they’re loving all the brand new facilities, they’re really state-of-the-art.

“The football pitch has probably been the biggest hit. They love having such a big area outside to run about in, compared to what they had down the road.

“As much as we were part of the community at Walker Road, it feels like we are more a part of the community now because of all the community hub things we have here, like Torry Library and the café.

“The café’s great, parents can just stop and have a chat. We just didn’t have any of these facilities down the road.”

The gym hall in Greyhope School
The gym hall. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

As I took my leave of Mr Watson and Greyhope School, I couldn’t help thinking I’d gone to school during the wrong generation.

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