Scottish Borders Council agrees permanent closure of primary schools

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Scottish Borders Council has given approval to the permanent closure of Ettrick, Hobkirk and Eccles Leitholm primary schools.

The decision follows a statutory consultation process that was held in accordance with the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 for each of the three settings:

Ettrick from 4 March to 28 April 2019

Hobkirk from 7 March to 2 May 2019

Eccles Leitholm from 14 March to 10 May 2019

It has been agreed that each school will permanently close as of 20 December 2019 with the catchment area for each school being permanently re-zoned from 21 December 2019.

Hobkirk Primary will transfer to Denholm Primary

Eccles Leitholm Primary will transfer to Swinton Primary

Ettrick Primary will transfer to Kirkhope Primary in Ettrickbridge

Councillor Carol Hamilton, executive member for Children and Young People, said: “The decision to close a school is never undertaken lightly and we would like to thank the three respective communities for their support and engagement as we have undertaken the consultation process.

“We fully understand their feedback expressing regret at the loss of their respective local schools, but appreciate their understanding of the factors that had to be taken into account when making our decision, such as demographic and other changes including different patterns of work and family life.

“We also appreciate the way in which pupils who have transferred to other schools have settled in, with parents reporting that they are happy with the learning experiences and opportunities their children are now receiving.

“The Ettrick Valley community can also be encouraged by the way in which this decision supports the future sustainability of Kirkhope Primary. The creation of an early learning and childcare centre has already attracted several children to the area with an increased roll being projected for the 2019/20 session, part of our ongoing commitment to maintaining a school in the Valley.”