FURIOUS parents have hit out after education bosses began replacing trained school library staff this week with PUPILS.

Staff at Galashiels Academy, Peebles High and Kelso High were told of the changes last week.

Bosses within Scottish Borders Council also want to roll out the cost-cutting changes to the region's other six secondary schools.

Several librarians lost their jobs last year due to cuts, with less-qualified staff deputising.

And now education chiefs hope to go one step further - with pupils and other volunteers manning the counters.

But parents fear the facilities will eventually close all together.

One mum told us: "The school libraries are an essential resource for our young people and often a place of respite for some of the most vulnerable children in the school during break and lunch times.

"The loss of this resource will also mean that those children without access to computers and other resources at home will no longer be able to access them through the school.

"Yet again local people are losing their jobs without due process and procedure as neither the unions, the schools, parents or staff were consulted on the cuts."

It is understood plans were tabled earlier this year to pay off all school library staff and replace them with volunteers.

But a compromise with ruling councillors was reached behind closed doors for a pilot scheme to be introduced in just Galashiels, Peebles and Kelso.

The officers cited two schools in Peebles which had volunteer-run libraries as examples of how the changes would work.

But this has also been questioned by parents.

One Peebles parent said: "For a short while when the librarian was off work with a broken leg volunteers did attempt to keep the library open.

"However during this time opening hours were much reduced.

"The volunteers were not trained to deal with the numbers or issues that arose.

"As a result students did not get the support they require and many were not able to access the library at all.

"Most importantly during this time huge amounts of equipment were vandalised and stolen and those who did use the library reported feeling more vulnerable."

Scottish Borders Council's education department this week denied any compulsory redundancies will be made due to the changes.

And bosses claim the three-school pilot will be reviewed ahead of any roll-out.

A spokesman said: "A pilot scheme is being implemented in three school libraries with a different model of operation.

“There will be no redundancies as a result of this and the pilot will be reviewed before the end of 2018.

“As part of the budget setting process it was agreed to maintain school libraries, however within that there is a requirement to recognise the changing way in which pupils study and access information, including digital solutions.

“There are also opportunities for senior pupils to gain qualifications and training in leadership and other areas through taking on roles in school libraries and supporting their peers.

"This is operating successfully elsewhere and is also being explored as part of the pilot scheme.”