General Introduction to Project
Meldrum Academy was constructed as part of the Aberdeenshire Schools PPP project. The challenge was to build a new secondary school as one of two that would replace three smaller secondary schools in other locations. The selection of this site meant that the small community of Oldmeldrum now has a completely new secondary school on its outskirts.
Originally the school site was somewhat isolated from the town. However, a new housing estate is now being constructed adjacent to the school, which will help to connect the school with the town. This site forms part of a new planned development between the existing town centre and a new road bypass. New housing developments are located adjacent to the school.
Meldrum is a community school, providing Oldmeldrum with excellent facilities including a public library, community dentist, sports facilities, adult learning and an integrated community police office. The site layout also incorporates soft and hard landscaping, teaching spaces, social spaces and outdoor recreation. The layout is people friendly and promotes a sense of security for all users of the facilities. The main entrance, which is prominent and accessible to all, is used by pupils, staff and community groups throughout the day and is therefore subject to monitoring and control.
This case study is included as an example of the successful integration of a large new school into a small community. The main challenge for the headteacher and staff was to establish a school ethos and create a school identity. The school opened in 2002 with only 1st and 2nd year pupils and it only reached full operation in 2006 as the original pupils reached their 5th and 6th years. This gradual introduction worked well, thanks to the time given by the staff to pupils, mixing "old fashioned" values alongside modern learning and teaching methods. The headteacher has worked to create a 'community school', trying wherever possible to minimise the impact of the volume of pupils on the small community.