Pioneering partnership set to deliver world-class learning in the digital age

Opening of Digital Centre of Excellence, Newbattle High School

As part of Midlothian Council’s ambition to create a world-class education system, a pioneering new Digital Centre of Excellence has been launched this week with the opening of the new Newbattle High School.

New community campus

Part of the £38million Newbattle Community Campus, the building also includes a new public library, gym, sports facilities, a swimming pool and community meeting spaces. The building also includes informal workspaces for self-employed people and which allow small businesses to be trained in the latest technology.

Unique partnership

In a unique partnership between Midlothian Council and the University of Edinburgh, the new high school has been designed as a world-class hub of innovation, aimed at transforming learning and teaching and equipping young people with the digital skills they will need to meet the growing global demand for high level, 21st century skills.  

Competing in the global knowledge economy

The school will work with a wide range of businesses, colleges and universities to ensure the curriculum is up-to-date and that young people develop the skills they need to compete in the global knowledge economy. The focus will be on digital industries such as robotics, data science, informatics, digital marketing, graphic design, video and music production.

Access to excellent learning

A key aim is to help tackle the cycle of poverty by providing equity of access to excellent learning opportunities. The school will also offer an enhanced curriculum and state-of-the-art IT provision, together with specialist teaching, dedicated resources and the highest quality work-based learning opportunities.

Data-Driven Innovation Programme

Activities within the centre of excellence will also be closely aligned with the Data-Driven Innovation Programme being led by the University of Edinburgh.  A key element of the upcoming Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, the programme aims to provide the skills needed to support the digital and data economy of the future.              

World class education 

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Jim Muirhead (pictured left), welcomed the collaboration with the university and the opening of the new facility.

“Our ambition is to create a world class education system for our children and young people that provides them with the real life skills they will need throughout their lives,” said Councillor Muirhead. “The new school will provide staff and students with the tools needed to access the highest quality teaching and learning. Pupils will also be able to see how digital technology relates to the curriculum, to future jobs and the development of specialist skills.

State-of-the-art facilities

“The new Digital Centre of Excellence provides state-of-the-art facilities and is an example of partnership working at its best,” added Councillor Muirhead. “It will also act as a regional hub so that students from other schools can access the specialist resources available through video links and online learning.”

University's role

The University of Edinburgh’s role in the project was led by Professor Judy Robertson, who praised the commitment of Newbattle’s staff: “As a digital learning specialist, it’s been a great pleasure for me to work with teachers and learners at Newbattle on this excellent project.

“Everyone involved in delivering the Digital Centre of Excellence is ambitious and enthusiastic to help pupils achieve their full potential, and the University of Edinburgh is proud to work alongside them. Both the University and Midlothian Council aim to provide excellent digital learning and teaching, and we can learn a lot from each other through collaborations such as this.”

Digital Centre of Excellence

Key aims and objectives

“Our school will strive to become sector leading in the use of digital technologies to educate pupils; developing an understanding of how digital technology can enhance learners’ experiences and in creating innovative learner journeys that will equip students with the skills and expertise to thrive in a future work place. Our learning will be shared across the country allowing educators and learners from the local, wider and national communities to access our learning and curriculum.

Reducing inequities

“We will work towards reducing the inequities in gender and poverty that currently exists in the digital world. We will achieve our vision through an unprecedented investment in staff development, infrastructure and partnership working. Our partners are from a range of sectors in education and industry; these partnerships will support us on our journey by contributing digital expertise, providing staff development, investing in resources and shaping learner journeys.”

Newbattle High School

  • Newbattle High School is a non-denominational secondary school that meets the learning needs of pupils from ages 11 to 18. The original High School was opened in 1969
  • The school serves the communities of Mayfield, Easthouses, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, North Middleton, Temple and the surrounding areas
  • The state-of-the-art new school building is part of the new Newbattle Community Campus, which also includes a range of community facilities
  • The development is being part-funded by the Scottish Government (Scotland’s Schools for the Future Programme), which has contributed £19million towards the £38million project. The remainder is funded by Midlothian Council

Working in partnership

  • The project has been delivered in partnership with Hub South East, the council’s development partner and its appointed contractor, Morrison Construction
  • The school roll is currently 847
  • The Head Teacher is Mr Gib McMillan
  • The Head of Education is Dr Grace Vickers
  • Contact information: Newbattle High School, Newbattle Community Campus, Newbattle Way, Easthouses, Dalkeith, EH22 4SX. Telephone 0131 561 6700 Email: [email protected]

Photo (L-R)

Midlothian Council's cabinet member for education, Councillor Jim Muirhead; Director of Education, Communities and Economy, Dr Mary Smith; Head of Education, Dr Grace Vickers; and Edinburgh University's DDI Programme Manager, Alison Muckersie.


5 Jun 2018