15 August 2019
When is a school not really a school?
When it’s the newly built super-school at Bertha Park, it would seem. Taking an entirely fresh approach to learning, environment and even how pupils will socialise, Stuart Clyde, Bertha Park High School Headmaster, and his team, have created the educational experience we all wish we’d had.
Before you’ve even set foot inside, the stunning glass-panelled frontage, and wide, circular doorway, give a glorious air of ambition usually reserved for buildings far more globally minded than a local high school. The sloping roof and dominant redbrick outer smack of confidence, which is a great starting point for a secondary school in our opinion.
Inside, the attention to aesthetics continues, with a brightly coloured tree reaching upwards to the school’s motto – Respect | Respect | Respect. This is the first of many wall murals that brightly pepper corridors and social spaces throughout the entire school.
I want to say it's impressive, but after a walk through this phenomenal educational building I am reminded of my own school days, and the gentle nagging of my English teacher telling me to be more adventurous with my words. Impressive just isn’t doing it justice. It is, as the kids might say, gob-smacking!
The auditorium wouldn’t be out of place in a modern university and, as the lights go up to give us a clearer view, we can see that the performance space opens out into a dance studio, and that classrooms look down over the beautiful, wooden seating area.
From here we're taken through sports halls large enough to house 10 basketball hoops – with the headmaster himself shooting a couple of winners! – a music department offering up wall-to-wall guitars, drums and keyboards, and classrooms adorned with screens that will talk to the iPads on which the children will learn.
The dinner hall already has the hustle and bustle of a kitchen team preparing the state-of-the-art ovens for next week’s hungry diners. Wall to wall with lockers – one for every pupil – and lined with cool, purple booth seating and small intimate tables for chattering, the space is multi-functional, and will be used to teach outwith break-times.
There are sound-absorbing materials on the walls and ceilings, and classroom kit that includes digital sewing machines, laser cutters and 3-D printers. This is hi-tech learning that will equip the young people passing through the school with an educational experience unlike any seen in the area before.
Stuart Clyde commented: “Traditional schooling prepares kids for life in the 20th century – an environment that no longer exists! We asked ourselves what skills do kids need now? What environment do they need to learn in? By questioning everything, and consulting with parents and pupils from the outset, we have made bold decisions that will see us write our own history. We can’t wait to get opened.”
Read Sally’s interview with Stuart Clyde, Bertha Park High School Headmaster, on Small City, Big Personality, when the doors open to pupils next Wednesday 21st August.
Ian Potter of Light Press Media. Ian is a local photographer who was schooled in Perth himself. He is a lover of technology and design and was in awe of the final product, unveiled to us at Bertha Park High School.