Complex needs base given green light

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Plans for a central complex needs education unit in the Borders have been given the go-ahead by the council’s planning department.

The scheme will see a dedicated centre built on part of the former Earlston High School site.

It is hoped that the provision of a single dedicated centre in the Borders will mean the council can stop sending children outwith the area for such services, which comes at great expense.

The budget for the work to build the centre stands at just under £1.6million, with the majority scheduled in the council’s capital plan for being spent in 2015/16 .

Services have been provided for children with complex needs at St Ronan’s Primary School in Innerleithen and Wilton Primary in Hawick. Howdenburn Schoolhouse has also been used.

However, others are forced to travel outwith the Borders in order to receive education because of the lack of adequate facilities, which is believed to cost the council up to £150,000 each pupil per year.

The decision to plan to use part of the former high school site for the unit was passed by the council’s social work committee in March, although some concerns were expressed about the budget available for the build.