Community celebrates as primary school opens in Clovenfords

SBC Convenor Alasdair Hutton and head teacher Alison Sutherland help P7 pupil Liam Davidson cut the ribbon on the first day at the new school. Photograph: Alastair Watson
SBC Convenor Alasdair Hutton and head teacher Alison Sutherland help P7 pupil Liam Davidson cut the ribbon on the first day at the new school. Photograph: Alastair Watson
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THE new £6million primary school in Clovenfords opened for business on Monday.

Celebrating his 12th birthday, pupil Liam Davidson, head teacher Alison Sutherland and Scottish Borders Council (SBC) Convener Alasdair Hutton cut the ribbon to open the new village school at 9am before the children and their teachers streamed through the doors.

Head teacher Miss Sutherland said: “It’s very exciting. There’s been a lot of work over a lot of years and we’ve been waiting for a long time. It’s a really happy day for us, we are really thrilled: it’s a beautiful school.”

The new replacement to Caddonfoot primary includes five classrooms, a general purpose room, nursery, multi-use games area (MUGA), hall and dining room – which are also for use by the community – with heating supplied through eco-friendly ground source pumps.

Construction started 18 months ago but lobbying and work behind the scenes in the community and the council dates back 15 years, said SBC education director Glenn Rodger

Commenting on Monday’s opening, he said: “It’s hugely important. The community has been campaigning for many years for a new school. There are fond memories of the old school but you can understand why they wanted a new one. The faces of the young folk when they went in this morning were so excited.

“The space is wonderful. There are big modern classrooms rather than cramped classrooms which will make it far easier for teachers to deliver the curriculum. It’s been designed to have outdoors classrooms to bring the curriculum into the outdoors and the outdoors into the classroom and that’s just wonderful.

“There are terrific sports facilities and a good hall, which the last school didn’t have, and there are good outdoor facilities for sport as well.

“The school has its own kitchen so the food will be better ... you name it and everything has been done. It’s a far better and higher specification school.”

Kariella Stevenson, mum to nine-year-old Anine in p5 and six-year-old Erika in p2, said: “We’re sad to leave Caddonfoot but we’re coming to this lovely school and we are delighted to be here. It’s great: I haven’t seen all of it yet but it’s amazing to have all this space and these facilities. The teachers coped well with what was there (at Caddonfoot) but this is so much better.

“My children were really looking forward to it, the games hall, the class rooms, just everything.”

Dad of two Mike Mitchell, whose children six-year-old Ritchie in p2 and nine-year-old Emily in p4 are pupils, said: “It’s great to have a school like this –it’s huge, the children have space to run around and I think it will help their education. This game hall alone seems about the size of the old school!”

Performing one of his last ceremonial duties as convener, Councillor Alasdair Hutton said: “This is another little jewel in the crown of SBC, a brand new school in a lovely setting to give inspiration to a new generation of Borders.”

Staff, pupils and guests were entertained by the children in the new games hall performing a new song specially commissioned and written by them to mark their first day in school.

The new facility can accommodate 125 children.Caddonfoot had room for 78 children, including the nursery.