THE reputation of a Borders high school has ‘gone through the roof’ as a result of a transformation programme, a meeting heard this week.

When his Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) issued a report on Berwickshire High School in March 2019, it noted significant concerns in a number of areas, including leadership, safeguarding, learning and teaching, well-being and attainment.

But a follow-up by HMIE in November 2021 identified significant improvements and a further visit in November last year noted further progress made by the head teacher Bruce Robertson and his staff.

As a result of this progress members of Scottish Borders Council’s education sub-committee agreed to fully sign off the facility as no longer a ‘school of concern’ following ‘intensive periods of improvement’.

Mid Berwickshire councillor John Greenwell said: “Comparing pre-COVID with after-COVID is actually amazing. When you walk into the school it feels like a school. It feels safe, it feels secure. There has definitely been a culture change in the school and  you can virtually eat it when you walk through the door.

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“There was a definite disconnect between various bodies in the school and the Parent Council was not involved in the school as much as they should have been. That’s gone away now and they are now actually part of what is happening in the school.

“At a meeting with Mr Robertson he told local members that he didn’t want the school to be the best in the Borders – he wanted it to be the best in Scotland and I think you’re getting there.”

Fellow Mid Berwickshire councillor Donald Moffat added: “Bruce Robertson and all the staff deserve credit because I remember pre-COVID when myself and councillor Greenwell were getting all sorts of complaints about behaviour in the school, all sorts of problems from different villages about the school and it’s a night and day difference.

"The bullying that we used to get reports about, the bad behaviour, has just about evaporated. I’ve been a councillor for 26 years and I’ve never seen an improvement in a school that we have had at this one.”