NICOLA Sturgeon visited the Borders today to recognise the achievements made in raising attainment at a Hawick school.

The First Minister met with parents and pupils at Burnfoot Community School which has seen a significant improvement in attendance and the children's reading, writing and numeracy skills.

During the visit, she was greeted by the Carnival Queen, Rachel Lowrie and Carnival Cornet Terry Logan (both P7), who led her to meet pupils in the Primary 1 class. This allowed the SNP leader to see the pupils in action during the first day of term.

Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Education, Councillor Sandy Aitchison told the Border Telegraph: "Burnfoot Community School is an excellent example of the work taking place across Borders schools to close the attainment gap in our Early Years and Primary schools.

"The school has initiated a range of interventions aimed at closing the gap and since joining the Scottish Attainment Challenge this work has intensified. 

"This has had a tremendous impact on children and their families including improved attainment in reading, writing and numeracy, as well as improved attendance of pupils," he added.

"For example, the school has seen an increase in reading attainment in primary 1 of 45 per cent and Primary 4 of per cent; an increase in writing attainment in primary 1 of 16 per cent, Primary 4 of 57 per cent and primary 7 of 25 per cent and an increase in numeracy attainment in Primary 1 of 35 per cent. 

"Attendance has also significantly improved and the number of exclusions has reduced dramatically by 23% between school session 2014/15 and session 2015/16.”

And proud headteacher Janice Chapman said the visit was testament to the hard work of teachers and pupils.

She said: "We have put practices and changes in place which have seen huge gains in terms of pupil development, as well as having a positive impact on pupils and their families. 

"The visit is a great testament to the hard work that has taken place here over the last couple of years."