Earlston facing wait to get new primary school built

Earlston Primary School.
Earlston Primary School.

Council chiefs have agreed to prioritise rebuilding Eyemouth’s primary school over Earlston’s if Scottish Government funding is not forthcoming.

At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee last week, councillors were asked to nominate Eyemouth’s as its preferred project if the local authority has to provide all the capital funding itself.

Martin Joyce, the council’s service director for assets and infrastructure, said: “Eyemouth is facing significant capacity issues, in addition to various condition and suitability issues, and is currently operating at 92% of capacity. “This is projected to rise over the next five years, with a concomitant rise in the high school role which has also seen recent increases.

“Accordingly, it is proposed that Eyemouth Primary School is considered as the next immediate primary school investment proposal, and it is recommended that a full design process and costings begin immediately to ensure this can be progressed as a priority while funding discussions continue with Scottish Government.

“In the event, however, that Scottish Borders Council has to fully fund the capital cost of Eyemouth Primary School, this would have the consequential impact of delaying the construction of the replacement Earlston Primary School.”

However, Mr Joyce confirmed that if sufficient funding can be acquired for both schools, they will be progressed “in parallel, and in a similar manner to Broomlands and Langlee Primary Schools”.

The condition and suitability of both primary schools has been ranked as poor by the council, meaning that their buildings have major defects and are not operating optimally.

Though both schools are judged as having poor facilities, Eyemouth’s primary is closer to capacity than Earlston’s, sitting at around 80% over the last 10 years.

East Berwickshire councillor Carol Hamilton, the authority’s executive member for children and young people, said: “I think it is essential for this council to update the school estate to provide learning spaces fit for the future, to encourage young people to embrace their learning and to encourage people into the teaching profession.

“We’re looking to build schools to help our children flourish in the best environment that we can provide.

“The school estate initiative shows that this council not only has education at its heart but in the community too.

“Both Eyemouth and Earlston primaries are situated in old high school buildings, and this needs to change if we’re going to meet the needs of learning and teaching, health and wellbeing, leisure and social activities, sports facilities and outdoor learning spaces for outdoor education.”