Mothballing of Eddleston Primary School agreed by councillors

A BORDERS village primary school is to close after the number of pupils attending it fell to just four.

Members of Scottish Borders Council today (June 23) agreed a recommendation to mothball Eddleston Primary School near Peebles from August.

The move comes as a result of only four pupils now attending the school, a figure so low that the “council/community consider that the school is not presently viable”.

However, it is hoped that the school, which opened in April 1992, can reopen in future with consultations between the council and parents set to continue.

Lesley Munro, Scottish Borders Council’s director of education and lifelong learning, said: “Although 30 children of primary school age reside in the catchment area a high proportion of families are exercising their rights to attend another school.

“There is clear and strong community support to reopen this school as quickly as possible. However, it remains the most reasonable option at the current time that the school be moved to mothballed.”

“This should not been seen as the beginning of the end for Eddleston Primary School,” said Selkirkshire councillor Leagh Douglas, the council’s executive member for education and lifelong learning.

She added: “While it will be sad to see this school mothballed it does appear the most reasonable option given the drop in numbers in primary age pupils. The parents and staff should be commended for their efforts to ensure that the pupils have enjoyed this year and have had so many opportunities for learning both in and out of the school.”

Councillor Viv Thomson, for the Tweeddale West ward, said: “I have to reluctantly agree that currently the school is not a viable option but I do want this to be a temporary situation.”.

The mothballing move is being made following a significant drop in the school roll.

At the start of the 2021/22 there were 24 pupils enrolled, which in accordance with Scottish Government regulations equated to a single composite class.

That small number resulted in placement requests being submitted by parents and pupil numbers continued to fall throughout the school year.

The remaining pupils are to be transferred to Newlands Primary School in Romanno Bridge, which shares a headteacher with Eddleston.

Pupils from Eddleston have in the recent past been transferred to Halyrude, Kingsland, Newlands, Priorsford and West Linton primary schools.

The school roll fluctuated between 63 and 51 between 1999 and 2017, but has fallen steadily in the last five years.

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