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Education / Cullivoe Primary School mothballing process set to be halted

The council said with increasing school roll projections in the coming years, ‘the trigger for consideration of mothballing is no longer met’

Cullivoe Primary School.

THE MOTHBALLING process for Cullivoe Primary School is set to be stopped due to the projected increase in its roll.

A recommendation to not progress further consideration of mothballing will go in front of councillors for decision at a meeting next month.

North Isles councillor Robert Thomson said it was “fantastic” news.

“I think it’s a perfectly sensible decision given that there’s a number of families moving into the area,” he said.

Fellow ward councillor Ryan Thomson said it would come as a “huge relief” to the community.

But he reiterated the final decision lays with the SIC’s education and families committee, which is due to meet on 15 April.

North Yell Development Council said it was “fantastic news and we would like to thank the Cullivoe Parent Council for all their hard work”.

“The Cullivoe School is the heart of the community in North Yell and we are delighted by the decision today,” it added.

A spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council said: “On 15 April 2024, the council’s education and families committee will consider a recommendation not to progress the mothballing of Cullivoe Primary School.

“With increasing school roll projections in the coming years, the trigger for consideration of mothballing is no longer met.”

News that the school was being considered for possible mothballing angered the community in Yell – particularly as they said the school roll was rising.

The primaries in both Cullivoe and Skeld were placed in a mothballing process due to the number of pupils in relation to the capacity of the schools.

Under new principles agreed by councillors last year the mothballing consultation will be trigged when a school’s roll drops below 20 per cent of its capacity.

A mothballing update report said as of November 2023 the projected roll for 2024/25 at Skeld was six pupils, at a capacity of ten per cent, and for Cullivoe that was seven pupils and 16 per cent – both excluding reserved places.

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But the Cullivoe parent council said the current roll – combined with reserved places – met the 20 per cent capacity condition, which is nine pupils.

It is understood that the roll is expected to reach ten in 2024/25 before rising to 12 for 2026/27.

An update report went in front of councillors earlier this month and an attempt by Shetland West member Liz Peterson to halt things was outvoted in view of awaiting the outcome of the process.

Children’s services director Helen Budge previously said that all information presented by school communities would be taken into account during the process.

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