£86,000 boost for Hawick High could spark recruitment drive for new teachers

Hawick High School.
Hawick High School.

New teaching posts could be created at Hawick High School now it is line for an £86,400 cash boost from the Scottish Government, it has been revealed.

Seven schools in and around Hawick were last week awarded almost £400,000 by ministers to support children in Scotland’s poorer communities.

Acting headteacher John Clarke.

Acting headteacher John Clarke.

The money is part of £120m to be distributed nationally from Holyrood’s pupil equity fund.

Today John Clarke, acting headteacher at Hawick High School, in Buccleuch Road, expressed his delight at the award, to be made available to spend from April onwards.

No decision has yet been made on how the money will be spent, with a consultation process now to be carried out with local primary schools that have also received financial support, to decide whether a joint spending approach should be adopted.

But Mr Clarke said consideration would be given to spending the funding on additional staff specifically tasked with addressing the grant’s aim of closing the poverty-related pupil attainment gap.

Mr Clarke said: “The first thing to say is that we are delighted to get this extra funding to support a programme of numeracy, literacy and health and wellbeing for young people in Hawick. That has to be good news.

“I can’t give clarity yet on how the money will be spent as we will have to carry out a proper consultation. It is a significant amount of money, and we will need to spend it wisely.

“At the end of the day, it will be put to good use.

“We will consult with local primary schools to see if we take a joined-up approach together or an individual approach.

“An increase in staff is something I wouldn’t rule out, and if that were the case, they would need to be appointments which focus on helping to close the attainment gap for those from deprived backgrounds.”

The school is also taking advice from the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council on how to spend the funding.

Other schools poised for sizeable handouts include Burnfoot Community School, in Kenilworth Avenue, Hawick, in line to receive the largest amount locally of £130,800.

It is followed by Wilton Primary, in Wellfield Road, set to net £58,800, Drumlanrig St Cuthbert’s Primary’s £39,600, Trinity Primary’s £33,600, Stirches Primary’s £18,000 and Denholm Primary’s £8,400.

Some 59 primaries and nine secondaries across the Borders will share funding totalling £1,840,800.

It will be up to headteachers and school leaders to decide the best way of using the funding in their schools.

The money has been divided according to how many children in primary classes and in the first three years of secondary school receive free meals.

Another local school set to receive funding is Newcastleton Primary, awarded £13,200.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said: “We welcome the announcement that pupils from across the Scottish Borders are due to benefit from £1,840,800 of Scottish Government funding which will be used by our headteachers as part of their ongoing commitment to raising attainment for pupils”.