Permanent closure considered for school

Eccles and Leitholm Primary School
Eccles and Leitholm Primary School

Eccles Leitholm Primary School, mothballed by Scottish Borders Council since 2016, is now heading for permanent closure.

The council is undertaking a statutory consultation in relation to the permanent closure of Eccles Leitholm Primary School in accordance with the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010. The consultation period runs from March 14, to May 10, 2019.

A public meeting will be held on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 7pm in Eccles Village Hall, to give people the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposal.

During the consultation period, copies of the documentation will be available at: Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells,TD6 0SA; Coldstream Primary School; Swinton Primary School; Berwickshire High School, Duns; and Coldstream Library. Online questionnaire at: www.scotborders.gov.uk/ecclesleitholm

Only three pupils were enrolled for the 2016/17 school session and Scottish Borders Council’s executive agreed to mothball the school, with any new pupils moving into the primary school’s catchment area enrolled at Coldstream Primary School which shared the same head teacher as Eccles/Leitholm. Pupil numbers fell from 29 in August 2013, to 14 in 2014, eight in 2015, then five in April 2016.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, SBC’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 Eccles Leitholm Primary was mothballed in 2016, it was following a rapid fall in the number of pupils enrolled at the school and a substantial increase in the number of placement requests being made by parents and carers who wished their children to attend other schools in the area.”

The outcome of the statutory consultation will be presented to councillors in June.