Meetings lined up to discuss plan to change primary school catchment areas in Selkirk and Yarrow Valley

Yarrow Primary School.
Yarrow Primary School.

The date of public meetings being held as part of a consultation over plans to change two primary schools’ catchment areas has been put back a week.

Scottish Borders Council is seeking views on proposals to amend the catchment patches for Yarrow Primary School and Selkirk’s Philiphaugh Community School in a bid to halt a decline in pupil numbers at the former.

It is proposed that Yarrowford and Broadmeadows, west of Selkirk, become part of Yarrow Primary’s patch rather than its that of its neighbour, eight miles east of it in the town’s Linglie Road.

Statutory consultation over that plan, agreed at a meeting of the council’s executive at the end of last month, will culminate in two public meetings originally lined up for Thursday, May 23, but now postponed until Thursday, May 30.

They will take place at the Selkirk school at 5.30pm and Yarrow Primary at 7.30pm.

East Berwickshire councillor Carol Hamilton, the authority’s executive member for children and young people, said: “We are committed to making sure we do all we can to support our rural schools, particularly where we are seeing a decline in numbers.

“This proposal would see pupils living in the Yarrowford and Broadmeadow areas attending Yarrow Primary instead of Philiphaugh, which we hope would lead to a sustained increase in attendance for the valley school.

“We are clear that the proposal will have no impact on Philiphaugh Community School, whose roll has remained constant for a number of years.

“Should the plans be agreed, pupils from the Yarrowford and Broadmeadows area who currently attend Philiphaugh will be given the option of which school they would like to attend. Council transport will be provided if necessary. This arrangement will also apply to any future siblings.

“I would encourage anyone with an interest in schooling in the area to make sure they take part in the consultation and give us their thoughts.”

A questionnaire can be found online at www.scotborders.gov.uk/yarrow

The Yarrow Valley school, built in the 1960s, has capacity for 50 pupils but only 13 on its register at present.

It is currently expected that no children will enrol in its primary one year this August, leading to its register dropping to 11 names for next academic year.

The Philiphaugh school has 166 pupils on its register at the moment, 126 of primary age and 40 aged two to four in early learning and childcare classes.

How we reported the rejig plans earlier this month ...

www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/news/politics/catchment-area-rejig-planned-in-bid-to-save-school-near-selkirk-from-closure-threat-1-4920804