Councillors agree unit site

Members of the council’s executive committee have approved Earlston as the site for a single complex needs unit.

The unit, to be built at the former high school, will bring together current provision for autistic children at three school units and will also provide services not currently available in the area.

It is hoped this will mean parents will chose to send their children to the new unit rather than outwith the area, which can cost SBC over £150,000 per pupil per year.

Over £1.5m has been set aside in the council’s capital plan for the creation of the unit, but Councillor Catriona Bhatia has called for a fundraising campaign to be started to help pay for its fitting out.

She said: “This is a facility that will require some really inspirational internal fittings for the children there.”

The unit will cater for cup to 40 children aged between three and eighteen with complex educational needs, both learning and physical, and will provide full and part time school places, assessments, training and outreach.

The closure of the school-based units will enable St Ronan’s Primary to use the vacated space as a classroom, and a nursery will be relocated at Wilton Primary.

Howdenburn Schoolhouse will be surplus to requirements and will be sold.