Progress is being made on complex needs centre

Councillor Frances Renton
Councillor Frances Renton

STAFF, parents and carers are currently being consulted on how the region’s first dedicated school for up to 40 children with complex needs can best serve the needs of Borders families.

And the region’s Youth Voice group has been asked to consider names for the £1.5million state-of-the-art facility, which is being developed on part of the former Earlston High School site owned by Scottish Borders Council (SBC).

The update was given by Councillor Frances Renton, executive member for social work and housing, at last week’s full meeting of SBC.

She told her colleagues that the centre’s project team, after due consultation and having developed detailed revenue plans, would be presenting a full report on progress towards the scheduled 2016 opening in the spring.

The new-build centre, which received planning consent in September, is expected to reduce the number of Borders children who, due to their complexities, are educated outwith the region at an annual cost to the council of up to £150,000 per pupil.

Current facilities in Hawick, Jedburgh and Innerleithen cater for 18 children with more in mainstream schools. The Earlston site was selected after an alternative at Galashiels was ruled out.