Splash cash on high school, council urged

Hawick councillor Clair Ramage outside Hawick High School.
Hawick councillor Clair Ramage outside Hawick High School.

Children are being let down by a lack of investment in Hawick High School, according to a councillor for the town.

Hawick and Denholm councillor Clair Ramage, an art and design teacher at the Buccleuch Road school for 34 years but now retired, this week voiced her anger over the poor condition of its buildings.

She told members of Hawick Community Council on Monday: “I’m really quite angry at what has been happening in the school.

“I worked at the school for many, many years, and we were promised new builds twice, but all that’s really been happening is that Band Aids have been put across it.

“I met with the new headteacher, Vicky Porteous, last week and I talked to the pupils. They were not impressed with the new renovations.

“I really have concerns because the buildings were only intended for 25 years and here they are 50 years later.

“Other towns are getting new schools, but we are not, so we really have to push for this.

“Education is really important in all of our towns, but money is being spent on a new Jedburgh campus, and it makes me question where we are then, and I just fear we are letting our kids down.”

The school was awarded £400,000 in March, part of £40m identified by Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee to be spent on the region’s schools over the next three financial years.

That money is to be used to revamp windows and classrooms at the school.

Further funding might be harder to come by, though, she fears because of the recent confirmation of Scottish Government funding for a new Jedburgh inter-generational campus.

A council spokesperson denied that, however, saying: “Hawick High School has been a priority for investment over the summer, including a window replacement programme, a new entrance, internal redecoration, including in key social areas, and general upgrades. This programme of work is substantial and could not all be completed in the summer, so further works are planned.

“A complete refurbishment of the school library is also being planned.

“The council is committed to the ongoing school estate review and has already carried out consultation with parents, pupils, teachers and the wider community regarding all our school properties.

“This has informed a number of decisions already, including seeking the funding for a new inter-generational campus in Jedburgh, and will continue to influence decisions going forward on improvements to our school estate across the Scottish Borders.”

The current Hawick High, a replacement for an older school built in 1860 and renovated in 1908 but burned down in 1925, dates back to 1928.

An extension was added in the 1970s, further modernisation work followed in the 1990s and its canteen was revamped in 2003.