For pupils across Fife, today marks the first day back after the summer break.
But for young people in St Andrews and the surrounding areas, it’s extra special.
That’s because – after a long and bumpy road – the new Madras College is finally welcoming students through its doors.
With a phased return in place, senior pupils in S4, 5 and 6 pupils arrived today. S1 pupils are starting on Thursday, with S2 and S3 joining on Friday.
The school was previously divided across two sites, with S1 to S3 pupils at the Kilrymont campus and S4 to S6 at South Street, in the heart of St Andrews.
“A momentous day”
Councillor Craig Walker, convener of Fife Council’s education and children’s services sub-committee, said: “This is quite a momentous day.
“We’ve been working hard to bring a new secondary school to St Andrews and the surrounding areas for some time.
“A tremendous amount of work has gone into making this possible and I’m delighted that the pupils now have a state-of-the-art building to learn in.”
Fife Council first committed to building a new school for St Andrews and the Tay Bridgehead 15 years ago but suffered a series of setbacks in finding a suitable location.
This included included a legal challenge which went to the Court of Session and resulted in planning permission for another site in the town’s green belt being quashed.
Work on the state-of-the-art £55 million campus, at Langland, eventually began in July 2019 but construction was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The council finally took ownership of new Madras earlier this month.
New leadership as well
As well as a new campus the school is also welcoming a new rector today, with Ken Currie taking up the role from today.
Mr Currie was a depute head teacher at Balwearie High School in Kirkcaldy before taking up his current post. He replaces former acting rector Avril McNeill.
He said: “The new Madras College building is helping us to give our children the best education.
“It’s an exciting environment to work in, for all of us and will bring together all young people for the first time in one building.
“The building itself is inspiring and innovative but above all functional and all on one campus which means we can get on with our jobs knowing that we have everything we need to help us to do that.
“At the school we are determined to deliver excellence and equity for the learners in our community.”
Read our three-part series about the move to the new Madras College.