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Education / Fetlar school could be mothballed as number of pupils falls to zero

Fetlar Primary School. Photo © Ken Craig (cc-by-sa/2.0)

THE PRIMARY school on the island of Fetlar could be mothballed after its number of pupils dropped to zero.

A decision on temporarily closing the school will be made at a meeting of Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee on Monday.

A report to members highlighted that as of May the school roll was zero.

The catchment area no longer has any children requiring school provision, and it is understood there is no anticipated need in the near future.

As a result children’s services is recommending that the school be mothballed. This is when a school is temporarily closed until it is needed again.

“Should the need arise in the future for education provision in Fetlar, a conversation will be held with central officers, parents, carers and children about the re-opening of Fetlar Primary School,” the report adds.

Current school staff have been informed and discussions will take place on their options, while there have also been talks with the community council.

If councillors agree to mothball the school, a review of the decision will occur annually unless circumstances change.

The report to councillors said the Fetlar community has been through the process before.

The school on the so-called ‘Garden of Shetland’ shares a headteacher with Baltasound in Unst.

Shetland already has two mothballed schools – Skerries and Papa Stour.

At Monday’s meeting councillors will also be asked to agree to delegate authority to the director of children’s services to mothball schools where there are no children and to keep the committee informed.

It comes after the council recently advertised for a headteacher role at the school on fellow island Foula, which has a roll of four primary children.