Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Pupils appeal for more textbooks

School library
Pupils said they were having to buy their own textbooks

Schoolchildren at a south of Scotland secondary have told councillors they have been left "no option" but to buy their own textbooks and worksheets.

Peebles High School students delivered the message to Scottish Borders Council's education executive.

They praised the education at their school but said pupils who did not buy their own books were "disadvantaged".

Councillor Catriona Bhatia said it gave the authority "food for thought" when it came to setting its budgets.

Peebles students Jamie Scott and Oenone Kubie told councillors their biggest concern was having subject choice limited due to funding cuts.

They also highlighted the plight of pupils paying 2 for worksheets or buying their own books.

Do you want to be the student that goes up to the teacher and admits that you can't afford to get the sheets photocopied?
Jamie Scott
Peebles High School student

Jamie said: "In a state school you would expect costs like this would be covered but, of course, when individual departments can't afford to photocopy sheets and buy new textbooks we are left with no option but to purchase them ourselves.

"For pupils that can't afford it the chances are that the department would be able to supply worksheets and textbooks for those particular students.

"But do you want to be the student that goes up to the teacher and admits that you can't afford to get the sheets photocopied?"

Oenone said the situation with textbooks had got steadily worse.

"Not all the pupils buy them but then they are disadvantaged because they have not bought them," she said.

"There are textbooks if you need them but you can't take them out of school if they are not yours because there are not enough, whereas before they were your textbooks for the year."

The pupils said it could make studying particularly difficult at exam time.

New technology

Ms Bhatia said the council would look at the issue with each individual school in the region.

She accepted that updating and replacing textbooks could be expensive but added that there might be other options.

"It could be, for example, that some of the schools could make better use of technology rather than utilising the textbooks," she said.

"There is further technology coming on board where you can actually download textbooks onto laptops or handheld devices.

"Certainly I will take forward the issues that they have raised and obviously it gives councillors food for thought when we are considering budgets in due course."

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