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Construction of a new state-of-the-art Paisley Grammar School Community Campus has been approved. 

Members of Renfrewshire Council’s Planning and Climate Change Policy Board met on Tuesday 23 January and approved the planning application to build a new high school on vacant land near Renfrew Road in Paisley. 

Construction work is expected to begin in spring, with the school expected to be ready to open in summer 2026. The new school will: 

  • offer outdoor facilities not possible on the current Paisley Grammar site, including all-weather and grass sports pitches, games court, and outdoor learning and social spaces 
  • have a 300-seat theatre, plus modern facilities for practical subjects including fitness suite, dance studio, makers space, teaching kitchens, drama studio and music suites 
  • have separate pupil and public areas, with community facilities such as meeting rooms, flexible learning spaces 
  • support a range of ways to learn and teach, with ‘learning plazas’, including a mix of open spaces for group work, and traditional classrooms 
  • meet high standards for energy-efficiency and building performance to support Renfrewshire’s Plan for Net Zero and reducing carbon emissions 
  • be inspired by the heritage of the current Paisley Grammar building — with a main ‘internal square’ at the heart of the building. 

The school’s location will also support a close partnership with the neighbouring West College Scotland campus, with potential to expand the curriculum on offer to pupils. 

The community campus is being funded by Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Futures Trust, as part of their nationwide Learning Estate Investment Programme. 

The site of the new school will also benefit from a new road being built from Renfrew Road to Inchinnan Road that will link with the new road bridge across the White Cart — part of a separate Council project funded by the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund. 

The connecting road will provide safe access, allowing pupils from the Shortroods/Mossvale area to reach the new school without having to travel through the town centre. It will also deliver better transport links along the river from the town centre out to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) next to Glasgow Airport. 

New safe walking and cycling routes will be created, including the first active travel link between Paisley and Renfrew for decades, and plans are progressing for a potential pedestrian and cycle underpass under Renfrew Road built on the route of the former rail track that will link the new school with Gallowhill and the east of the town. 

The community campus will be built beside the vacant former Chivas administration building, but this will not be part of the new school. The Council is proactively marketing the building to find a new owner and use. 

The project’s design team is led by international architects Ryder Architecture, who have delivered new school and educational buildings across the UK and abroad. The design for the school has taken into account what pupils, staff and parents want for the new building, gathered from ‘design charettes’ as well as a series of public consultation events with local residents. 

Councillor Jim Paterson, convener of the Planning and Climate Change Policy Board, said: “The new Paisley Grammar School Community Campus will offer modern facilities for pupils, replacing the current school which has served the town for more than a century but is now outdated. 

“The new building will provide pupils and staff with a learning environment suitable for the 21st century, providing them with everything they need now and in the future. 

“It has also been designed for community use of the building during and after the school day, at weekends and during holidays, with separate areas and access for pupils and public. 

“With the team having done a considerable amount of work to gather the views of the local people and design a building that will meet the needs of pupils, staff, parents and local residents, I’m pleased to see this project move into the next phase. Construction work is expected to start in spring.” 

Author

Founder of Paisley.org.uk in 1998 and constantly strives to change peoples attitudes to the town, Brian is a self described Paisley Digital Champion who promotes Paisley via any means necessary. You can also follow me on X