Education / Fetlar school to be mothballed

Fetlar Primary School was mothballed in 2022. Photo © Ken Craig (cc-by-sa/2.0)

COUNCILLORS have given the green light to mothballing Fetlar Primary School.

The number pupils at the island school is now zero, and there is no indication this will change.

The decision to mothball the school was made at a meeting of Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee on Monday. 

Mothballing is a term used when a school is effectively shut but able to reopen should there be a need to.

A report to councillors said: “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 existing two school staff have been informed and discussions will take place on their options.

Monday’s meeting heard that the council would discuss potentially relocating the staff’s jobs, within appropriate travel distance.

The school – which has gone through the mothballing process before – shares a headteacher with Baltasound in Unst.


Shetland already has two mothballed schools, in the island communities of Skerries and Papa Stour.

Most of the discussion at Monday’s meeting was about the procedure about “unmothballing” at school, with Shetland Central member Moraig Lyall successfully amending the motion to include a request that a policy be developed.

Meanwhile there were no representatives from the North Isles – which includes Fetlar – at Monday’s meeting as the ward’s existing two councillors decided not to put forward a member to the committee while a by-election looms for its vacant third seat.

Lerwick South member John Fraser said it was “disappointing” there was no representation from the North Isles at the meeting – but children’s services director Helen Budge said the SIC had spoken to the chair of Fetlar Community Council.

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