Schools estate will have to meet the needs of the future

A review of the school estate across the region is about to be undertaken by Scottish Borders Council and residents will get the chance to have their say.

Reporting to councillors this week Donna Mason, service director children and young people, made it clear that nothing is being ruled out.

“At this stage there are no particular options being considered,” said Ms Mason.

“This is a review of the whole school estate and will identify and consider a full range of possible options: status quo; catchment reviews; new school build requirements; school merger proposals on a new site involving closure of existing schools; school closures and re-location of the catchment to existing schools; school re-design for children and young people within a catchment area eg 2-18 years campus, or 2-8 years campus,or 8-18 years campus; any alternative proposals presented by stakeholders during consultation.”

SBC’s executive committee has approved plans for a pre-consultation exercise during March, to give parents, carers, pupils, staff, community councils, community groups and all other stakeholders the opportunity to give their feedback on the current provision via drop-in sessions at local high schools or by completing a questionnaire available both online and on paper.

The consultation will also seek their views as to what school estates provision should aspire to look like in the future.

All information gathered will be added to the council’s own review and used to develop a strategy and action plan for delivering a school estate that provides: increased educational opportunities and improved outcomes for children and young people; the means by which the council can deliver across its range of statutory educational duties; sustainability; a future-proofed estate; affordability

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, SBC’s executive member for education said: “Our key priority is to ensure that attainment and achievement levels are improved for children and young people across the Borders. We must have a school estate that meets the needs of everyone who uses our facilities.”