Jedburgh welcomed the Deputy First Minister John Swinney on a visit to the town’s Grammar School on Wednesday.
He came bearing good news for the town, with the confirmation that the Scottish Government will be providing funding towards the new Jedburgh Intergenerational Campus.
Mr Swinney was welcomed to the school by pupils who provided musical entertainment and shared their views on the opportunities the new campus will bring.
Addressing the school Mr Swinney commended the town and its youngsters for their proactive approach in supporting the consultation and expressing their wishes.
“I think the most important thing we have heard here today has been from the young people of Jedburgh Grammar and the way they have expressed very clearly their wish for this new campus,” he said.
“It illustrates something fundamental in our country today that we must be open and accommodating to the views and aspirations of our young people, and in Jedburgh they have paid volumes in the contributions we have had this afternoon.” He added: “This new school campus in Jedburgh will have the opportunity to created a 21st century learning environment in which the young people of this wonderful Borders town will thrive.”
“The young people who populate our schools are the most important individuals in our schools, shaping and responding to the challenges of a learning environment and ensuring that their needs and aspirations are met.
“We have seen today, by the young peoples’ contributions, that their aspirations have been met by this collaboration by the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council to create that learning environment and I congratulate warmly the young people who have led this process.”
The new campus will replace Jedburgh Grammar, Howdenburn and Parkside primary schools and will include sports facilities and a community hub, alongside education provision for two to 18-year-olds and further education opportunities.
Subject to planning permission being granted for the site at Hartrigge Park, work will start in Spring 2018 and is expected to last 18 to 24 months.
Councillor Carol Hamilton, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for children and young people, added: “The existing provisions of the Grammar School and the two primary schools at Parkside and Howdenburn have served the community well.
“However, it became clear when we spoke to the community during extensive public consultations in 2016 and this year that there are a number of concerns about their ability to provide the education and learning experiences that the children and young people in Jedburgh require and need.”
The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive, with 98 per cent of the local community and 99 per cent of Jedburgh schoolchildren agreeing that the campus would be a positive addition for the town.
“We now have a unique and hugely exciting opportunity not only for Jedburgh’s children and young people, but for the whole community with the needs of all generations being catered for.”
The project will see Scottish Borders Council (SBC) team up with development partner Hub South East Scotland, while BAM Construction have been announced as the appointed contractor.
A major consultation exercise took place last year and earlier this year, with pupils, parents and the wider community in Jedburgh providing their thoughts on the proposal.
A £28million investment will be shared between four new schools as part of the fifth phase of the £1.8billion ‘Schools for the Future’ programme.
This will take the overall number of schools being delivered to 116 and benefit over 60,000 pupils across Scotland.