It’s time for transparency in the classroom

We are all more than aware of the constraints on the public purse and the inevitable impact of so-called efficiency savings on services, not least education.

But it is sad and incongruous that amid this universal acknowledgement of hard times and the need to economise, the reality of the pressures facing our schools is so lacking in clarity.

Indeed, it has taken a parent – Vivian Bannerman of Denholm – to let us know that Hawick High, the second-largest secondary school in the region, is nine teachers down on its staffing establishment of five years ago.

Since then, the profession has endured a roller coaster of changes which have seen many of its most experienced and respected practitioners coaxed from the classroom by voluntary severance deals or early retirement packages.

Given the added strain of covering for colleagues and trying to reconcile the needs of pupils with additional needs with those of the majority, those left at the vocational chalkface are anxious for the future and unable, it seems, to articulate their feelings in public.

Teaching has, in short, become synonymous with stress – and that augurs badly for all of us in the Borders.

An honest and open debate is called for and this should be fostered, not discouraged, by the power brokers at Newtown – even if it eventually leads to this most critical of services being taken out of council hands.

It’s time for transparency.