(Donaldson's School)

A strikingly modern building on the west side of Preston Road in Linlithgow, Donaldson's School is a national centre providing day and residential education for deaf children and those with severe speech and language difficulties.

The school was officially opened on 17th September 2008 by First Minister Alex Salmond (b.1954) and occupies a 3.2-ha (8-acre) parkland setting beside the Union Canal, the site of the former Racal-Thales radar electronics plant (built 1969). Donaldson's moved from an A-listed building in Edinburgh, which was designed by W.H. Playfair in 1851, to this new building, purpose-built by JM Architects at a cost of £23 million. The new site provides a peaceful location better suited to the educational needs of the pupils and one which is more accessible to pupils who come from all over Scotland. Another site next to Queen Margaret's University Campus at Craighall was considered, but this was ruled out due to noise - it was beneath the flight-path into Edinburgh Airport.

Linlithgow gave Donaldson's the ability to create a bespoke school designed to meet the specific needs of their pupils, while also permitting close links with the local community which was always difficult in the busy West End of Edinburgh.

Donaldson's has a roll of 57 pupils (2015) split between nursery, primary and secondary departments and provides onsite accommodation for up to 24 pupils. The school employs just over 100 staff.

Two teaching wings extend outwards from a central hub which contains sports, dining and administrative facilities, together with a library and assembly hall. Classrooms are small, each accommodating just six pupils but with state-of-the-art technology. There is also a Life Skills room and Art Studio. Sports facilities include a gym, swimming pool and fitness room, with an all-weather sports pitch and cycle track outside.

Residential accommodation occupies a separate building, on the western edge of the site, to reinforce the distinction between home and school. Overall, the grouping of the buildings is intended to form a progression from loud to quiet, and public to private. The grounds include play areas, an outdoor classroom, barbeque and picnic areas, wild garden and a sensory garden. A considerable number of mature trees have been retained.

The School is run by Donaldson's Trust, a registered charity, and managed by a Board of Governors.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better