A PETITION calling for librarians to be returned to three Borders high schools has almost reached its target within the first week of being launched.

Public service workers union, UNISON, raised the petition last week following the decision by education officials to terminate the contracts of school library staff in Peebles, Kelso and Galashiels - and replace them with volunteers and pupils.

The pilot scheme was aimed at being rolled out to the region's other six secondary schools.

But the cost-cutting has been met with anger from parents, educations groups and other academic organisations.

UNISON launched their online petition - https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/SBLibs - at the end of last week with a view to gathering 400 signatures.

And more than 350 had added their names and comments within the first seven days.

Greig Kelbie from UNISON said: "If this pilot is deemed successful it could result in all qualified library staff being removed from every High School in the Scottish Borders.

"Children in the three schools that are part of the pilot will no longer have access to support and guidance from qualified staff. "Other pupils and volunteers cannot be expected to offer the current level of support to those using the library for personal study, research or preparations for exams and University applications.

"We believe students in the pilot schools will be unfairly disadvantaged in comparison to not only the other schools in the Borders but throughout Scotland."