School week change should be ‘embraced’

Glenn Rodger, SBC director of education
Glenn Rodger, SBC director of education

A Borders-wide change to a four-and-a-half day school week will have a knock-on effect on various aspects of people’s lives.

That is the view of the council’s director of education, Glenn Rodger.

Mr Rodger told Tuesday’s meeting of the education committee: “This impacts on so many facets of Borders life, including businesses.”

He added: “My professional judgement is that it is something we absolutely have to embrace.”

However, some members of the committee expressed scepticism about the move, and the benefits of it, as well as the consultation process.

Councillor Michelle Ballantyne commented: “We do need to be really clear on what we are consulting on here.

“When you cut to the chase we are saying there is a very strong business case for moving to an asymmetric week, and are we really going to step away from it if a lot of people say they are against it?”

However, committee chairman, Councillor Sandy Aitchison, said: “We need everybody to say what they think, yes or no, otherwise it is an unbalanced consultation, but at the end of the day it is a political decision.”

Mr Rodger added: “I hope we have considerable input from parents, employers, other stakeholders and staff on the impact of this.

“There are issues, we cannot pretend there is not.”

The first of a series of consultation events in the region’s ‘learning communities’ – some of which cover more than one high school area – took place on Tuesday night in Peebles.

The event attracted more than 200 people.

The next consultation meeting will take place at Howdenburn Primary School in Jedburgh on Tuesday, January 21, from 6.30 pm.

Comments from all the meetings will be collated and presented to councillors at their March meeting, when a decision will be taken on the matter.

People can also have their say on the impact of the proposal by going to the SBC website page.