Westruther school’s £370k extension

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Westruther Primary School’s £370,000 facelift gets underway during the half term holidays this month and should be completed by April 2015.

A new extension, taking in part of the playground, is being added to the traditional stone building which has a school roll of between 40-50 children.

Better teaching and dining facilities for nursery and primary pupils, as well as greater opportunities for active learning activities within the school, are behind the changes.

Improvements have already been made to enable better opportunities for outdoor teaching and learning.

Local contractor Murray & Burrell has been appointed to undertake the work and is due to start on Monday, October 13.

Councillor Sandy Aitchison, SBC’s executive member for education, said: “This is a much needed extension at Westruther Primary School which will be welcomed by pupils, staff and parents.

“Investing in small rural schools ensures equality of experience for rural communities and the appointment of a Borders firm to carry out the works provides a boost to the local economy.”

Ten years ago Scottish Borders Council surveyed all its schools and drew up a list of priorities - the conclusion at the time being that Westruther primary was one of the schools in relatively good condition, putting it near the bottom of the list of schools requiring attention.

When the Scottish Government approved a Public Private Partnership investment of £50 million for Borders schools in 2004, £17 million less than requested, the council had to curtail its plans. By 2008 a survey of schools revealed 13 primaries were showing “major defects and were not operating adequately”, including Ayton, Duns, Eccles/Leitholm, Eyemouth; and by 2010 there was a backlog of nearly £14 million of investment required in the region’s schools.

This year the council announced a 10 year capital plan which included £16.5 million for school refurbishments and capacity projects.