Published: Wednesday, 1st November 2017
The Executive Committee is being asked to approve the recommendation that a statutory consultation is held in relation to the closure of St Margaret’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Hawick.
The request is being made as a result of a review of denominational schools in the Borders, held as part of the overall school estate review. Parents and staff at all four Roman Catholic schools have been involved and the following factors taken into account:
- ways to increase educational opportunities
- improved outcomes for children and young people
- providing a school estate that is sustainable, future proofed and affordable.
The review highlighted that St Margaret’s has had a significant fall in the school roll over the past 20 years from 56 in 1997 to 14 in the current school year. There were only three pupils admitted into primary one over the last three years and none for 2017/18. There are concerns that the diminishing school roll:
- limits the ability to offer pupils a full range of curricular and learning opportunities, particularly in relation to requirements within the Curriculum for Excellence and for the development of team skills and group work with children of a similar age
- means that some pupils face additional challenges integrating with their local community and forming age related peer groups which can be particularly important when making the transition to secondary education.
The consultation will propose that if St Margaret’s is to close, existing pupils will be offered a place at their local catchment primary school. Discussions will also be held with parents and the Roman Catholic Church regarding arrangements for denominational instruction to continue to be provided.
Donna Manson, Service Director Children and Young People
"We are making this recommendation based on the evidence gathered as part of our reviews which raised a number of issues that we would like to address so that the full range of educational and social benefits that we aspire to for all our children and young people can be available for these pupils.
“While we have already held initial discussions with parents, staff and the Roman Catholic Church to brief them on the proposal, setting out our reasons for making this recommendation, the implications that it will have for everyone involved and the support that will be available, we are asking Executive Members for agreement to engage with them on a formal basis.”
Councillor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Children and Young People
“While the decision to consult on the closure of a school is always a difficult one, there has been a significant amount of work undertaken to reach this point with strong evidence available to support the proposal. Discussions will continue with parents and staff throughout the consultation as it will be important to hear their thoughts and support them through the process. However, I am confident that whatever is decided, it will be because it is in the best interests of these fourteen pupils, particularly if a move to a new school within the town of Hawick provides them with all the social and learning opportunities that being in a larger setting with children of their own age could give them.”
The report is available to download from our website