Moves under way to confirm closures of Hobkirk and Ettrick primary schools

Hobkirk Primary School.
Hobkirk Primary School.

Moves are now under way to confirm the closures of two Borders primary schools shut for the last few years.

Scottish Borders Council is undertaking a statutory consultation set to lead to the permanent closures of Ettrick and Hobkirk primaries.

Ettrick Primary School.

Ettrick Primary School.

Ettrick Primary, west of Hawick, was mothballed in 2012 after its school roll dwindled to zero, and the same fate befell the school at Hobkirk, south of Bonchester Bridge, in 2015 after it too ceased to have any pupils on its register.

Agreement to carry out consultation on the two closures was given by the council’s executive in November 2017.

The consultation period for Ettrick Primary’s closure will run until Sunday, April 28, and Hobkirk Primary’s will end on Thursday, May 2.

Public meetings will be held to offer people a last chance to have their say on the proposed closures.

They take place on March 26 at the Boston Memorial Hall in Ettrick and April 16 at the William Laidlaw Memorial Hall in Bonchester Bridge. Both start at 7pm.

Details of the closure plans are available at www.scotborders.gov.uk/ettrick and www.scotborders.gov.uk/hobkirk or by calling 01835 825080.

East Berwickshire councillor Carol Hamilton, the council’s executive member for children and young people, said: “The decision to close a school permanently is never taken lightly and is only considered after a wide range of important and valid factors are taken into account, with our priority always to make sure that we are providing the best educational opportunities we can for pupils.

“When Ettrick Primary was mothballed in 2012, it was done because there were no pupils enrolled for the commencement of the school year.

“Since then, any pupils living in the catchment area have been attending Kirkhope Primary, which has worked well.

“When Hobkirk Primary was mothballed in 2015, it was because the school roll had dropped from 39 to seven over the course of the previous five years.

“The catchment area was then temporarily re-zoned to Denholm Primary School. This proposal seeks to formalise this arrangement which is continuing to work well for pupils and their families.

“We would therefore ask all interested parties to consider this proposal carefully and provide their feedback by taking part in the consultation.”

The outcome of the statutory consultations will be presented to councillors in May for Ettrick Primary and June for Hobkirk Primary.

Paper copies of the closure plans will also be available at locations including the council’s headquarters at Newtown, Ettrick Village Hall, Jedburgh Grammar School, Hawick and Selkirk’s high schools and libraries, Kirkhope Primary School at Ettrickbridge and Yarrow and Denholm primaries.

Plans are also being drawn up to shut Eccles/Leitholm Primary School in Berwickshire for good, and a consultation period will be held from today, March 14, to Friday, May 10.