FRESH calls have been made to the Scottish Government to increase funding for Shetland’s schools.
Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee chairman George Smith met education secretary John Swinney on Wednesday in Edinburgh.
Shetland south councillor Smith, who was joined by vice-chairman Theo Smith, said it was a “positive meeting” but added that Swinney made no commitments about fairer funding.
He said the rural geography of Shetland means that funding for education in the isles needs to be robust.
“Clearly we do not get enough funding from the Scottish Government to maintain 28 schools for 23,000 people,” Smith said.
“Geography dictates to an extent that requirement. We need fair funding to reflect our circumstances and while Mr Swinney didn’t make any commitments at all re additional funding he did listen and he did take on board the need to ‘island proof’ any legislation he introduces about governance and funding going forward.”
He also reiterated that a nationwide approach to school funding would not successfully apply to Shetland as the government looks into changing the way it pays for education to be delivered across the country.
Earlier this year the Scottish Government introduced its consultation on fair funding for schools to seek views on “developing a new, more consistent approach to school funding”.
It works alongside the government’s Education Governance: Next Steps paper, which sets out a “vision for a school and teacher-led system” that would look to devolve more authority from councils to individual schools.
Smith repeated his view that a “one size fits all” approach would not translate to isles schools and told the education secretary of the importance of “being able to make decisions concerning education in Shetland here in Shetland”.
He added that Swinney “understood and accepted that we need a pragmatic approach to ensuring we can maintain and improve outcomes for all our children and young people”.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 440 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News