Sadly over the past few months I have not been able to join the fight to save our rural schools/communities due to work and family commitments.
Thankfully due to prominent people in the community and of course the NCDC I have been able to follow developments and a few things have come very clear.
- By closing primary schools in Northmavine no saving can be made due to transport costs. Costs could not be provided at consultation. Any saving mentioned was meaningless.
- The children cannot be delivered to the school chosen to remain open within the specified maximum transport time. Eight pick ups at three minutes each equals 24 minutes which only leaves 16 to 20 minutes of actually driving time to get from North Roe, down Ronas Voe and around and back to Ollaberry. Sticking to speed limits let alone potential wintry weather makes this impossible.
- Safety of our young children at the pick up points during winter storms have not been taken into consideration. I formally request councillors come to the designated pick up points in a force 8 or 9 and see what risk they are exposing the children too.
- The school chosen to remain open is not the best for expansion, adjustment or even has the correct facilities required, and has only been chosen due to the 5-star rating from inspectors so the council does not make the same blunder as it did in Yell.
- The idea that the closing schools will be used as business units has been plucked out the air by some nugget in a suit who probably hasn’t been to the communities.
The schools are the only major employment in the community. There is no requirement for offices in North Roe or Hillswick. What businesses exist are either run from home, from a larger group at their head office or within their premises.
The above points alone make this whole idea a red herring in my opinion.
If the council wish to make some real time savings within the Northmavine schooling structure then they should look at job reduction.
One head teacher to manage all three schools (this could be managed from Brae), administration carried out by one person from one office. (We are now in the digital age and an on-site administrator is not required)
Further savings can be made by restructuring the personnel required to educate the children.
If you cannot see the proposals being made are purely to make it look like action then I’m afraid in the future you will bear the tag of the people who savaged the communities for nothing.
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