Seven schools in around Hawick have been awarded more than £320,000 by the Scottish Government to support children in some of our poorest communities.
The money is part of £120m to be distributed nationally from Holyrood’s pupil equity fund following an announcement yesterday by Deputy First Minister and education secretary John Swinney.
The aim is to close the poverty-related attainment gap among the nation’s schools, and the funds have been distributed in accordance with the number of children in each school receiving free school meals.
The biggest winner locally is Burnfoot Community School, in Kenilworth Avenue, Hawick, in line to receive the largest amount 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 and Stirches Primary’s £18,000.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Burnfoot Primary in August last year to highlight the need for the scheme and what it could achieve, and the money it has now been awarded is set to allow it to build upon the progress it has made so far in narrowing the attainment gap.
Some 59 primaries and nine secondaries across the Borders 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.
Welcoming the announcement, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame said: “Every child in Scotland should have the best possible start in life, and it is unacceptable for children from the poorest backgrounds to have their chances limited by circumstances outside of their control.
“This funding is an important step in tackling the inter-generational cycle of deprivation in our schools.”
Hawick-based south Scotland SNP list MSP Paul Wheelhouse added: “The Scottish Government has made closing the educational attainment gap our number one priority for this Parliamentary session, given its importance for pupils’ life prospects as well as providing skills for the economy.
“Our new £120m pupil equity fund is aimed at doing just that, supporting schools across the Borders.
“This new announcement will let local parents, teachers and school leaders in the Borders see how much additional funding they can expect to receive to drive up standards and support local pupils achieve their full potential.”
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.
The list reveals that 2,513 primary, secondary and special schools will benefit from the new scheme.
The other local schools to receive funding are Denholm Primary, getting £8,400, and 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.”