Jedburgh is to have a new intergenerational learning campus in place by 2020 after councillors formally backed the plans today.
Members gave their unanimous support to the building of the £32m campus and the subsequent closures of the town’s Howdenburn and Parkside primary schools, their nurseries and Jedburgh Grammar School, praising both the plans and the success of the consultation process behind them.
“It is the most successful community consultation in Scotland in a long time,” the council’s service director for children and young people, Donna Manson, told councillors. “The children and parents across all the school communities came together, and we had a community who really got on board.
“We have achieved what no other council has achieved in a number of years – the closure of a number of schools to create a single campus. We’ve also received the strongest ever recommendation from the inspectorate about this.
“It has been an absolute privilege to be working with a community in this way, and I stand here and represent the views of the people of Jedburgh. This is a very exciting and rare opportunity.”
She added: “We are absolutely on a timeline to deliver this project by 2020.”
A public consultation took place last year and earlier this year, with pupils, parents and the wider community being asked to give their thoughts on the proposals.
And with 98% of the Jedburgh community and 99% of Jedburgh schoolchildren agreeing that a new learning campus would be welcome, the response was overwhelming positive.
The town’s councillors have also welcomed the plans, with Sandy Scott hailing the decision as an early Christmas present for the town.
He said: “The people of Jedburgh are desperate to improve on what they had, and I am delighted at the staggering response in favour of this during the consultation.” Jim Brown described the work over the last year as a “truly exceptional effort in public engagement” and added: “We look forward to the amalgamation of all our schools. I have watched with great interest as the campus has been designed in great detail, and I am confident it will be a huge benefit to the young and the mature members of the community.”
And fellow councillor Scott Hamilton added: “This school is not just about education. This is for the whole of Jedburgh to embrace and enjoy.”
Subject to planning permission being granted, work on the campus, to be built on land at Hartrigge Park, will begin in the spring and is expected to last 18 to 24 months.
The first of its kind in the Borders, the campus will serve youngsters aged two to 18, as well as providing further education opportunities.
It will also provide educational support for secondary aged children with additional support needs, after the closure of Howdenburn Schoolhouse. Ancrum Primary School pupils will transfer to the new campus to complete primary six and seven.
The funding for the new campus was confirmed by Scottish Government Deputy First Minister John Swinney in August on a visit to Jedburgh Grammar as part of the fifth phase of the £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme.
The Scottish Government has been informed of the decision, and members of the public are also entitled to submit any further representations directly to ministers up until January 14.
East Berwickshire councillor Carol Hamilton, the authority’s executive member for children and young people, added: “This is an amazing chance to deliver something dynamic for the people of Jedburgh aged two to 102.”
“I am delighted that we now have full agreement for these proposals and can progress with our plans to create this unique and much-anticipated replacement school provision for Jedburgh with the educational opportunities that it has potential to provide for people of all ages.
“There has been extensive consultation and public engagement throughout the process as it was important to make sure that pupils, family members, staff and the wider Jedburgh community were fully engaged with the proposals. We would like to thank everyone who took part for their responses and the support we have received. We now look forward to working together and making this vision a reality.”