LATEST: Howdenburn Primary out of action until after Easter

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It looks like pupils from Howdenburn Primary in Jedburgh will not be able to return to their school until after the Easter holidays.

Damage was sustained to the school’s assembly hall during Storm Desmond in early December. Scottish Borders Council staff are continuing to examine the structural design of the hall.

The design solution for the walls within the existing hall is proving to be complex and additional design time is required to produce the most effective solution.

The Council is also taking this opportunity to review and enhance the hall structure, as required, at the same time as undertaking the wall replacement.

The aim is to have an architectural and structural solution by the end of January and works will be instructed and will commence on site at the earliest opportunity.

Independent structural engineers are also undertaking a structural survey of the entire school. SBC says it is aiming to ensure pupils can return to the school after the Easter break.

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, Executive Member for Education, said: “There is no option for the return of pupils to the primary school prior to all works being completed as a large part of the school would be a building site and it would not be a safe space for children.

“Until Howdenburn pupils can return, they will continue to be educated at Parkside Primary and Jedburgh Grammar schools, under the same arrangements as before the Christmas holidays.

“We have taken on board the comments of parents, teachers and ward members and will continue to liaise with them to ensure that these arrangements are as effective as possible.”

Both Parkside Primary School and Jedburgh Grammar School have the physical capacity to accommodate the Howdenburn pupils under the current arrangements and all educational and facilities requirements are being met.

Due to the long-standing traffic issues at Parkside Primary School the Council continues to appeal to parents to avoid travelling to the school by car wherever possible, and if absolutely necessary ask them to drop-off/collect pupils without waiting in the area of the school.

Since the decamp of Howdenburn pupils the traffic issues at Parkside have been closely monitored and the Council appreciate the ongoing support of parents of pupils at both schools.

There will be continued engagement with parents and pupils around traffic management and safe routes to school.

Due to the increase in the number of pupils walking to and from Parkside Primary and Jedburgh Grammar schools, the Council wants all drivers in and around the town to avoid routes around these schools if at all possible around school opening/closing times, and ask them to take particular care if driving in and around the town during these times.