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Letters / A heartless recommendation

I recall being taken out fishing every Saturday when I was 10-11 years old.

I loved fishing however travel sickness was a massive downer, especially, on the Wast Side, anywhere beyond Bixter.

I know well the misery of being driven to and from Skeld, even with stops to fish along the way.

Aith is a long way from Skeld, over still poor quality roads however SIC officials are reportedly recommending that Skeld Primary School be “mothballed” and the pupils transported daily to Aith, despite the potential Skeld roll (twelve pupils) meeting the SIC’s “20 per cent capacity” rule.

Sadly, the actual roll has fallen from twelve to four children due to parents choosing Aith because it enjoys the statutory nursery provision of 30 hours per week.

I understand Skeld should have received this “statutory” provision four years ago and despite confirmation that full nursery provision can happen from August, officials have recommended “mothballing”.

Setting aside the obvious loss to an already depopulating community (a school designed for sixty pupils now struggles to muster twelve?) this seems an extraordinary state of affairs.

Council officials recommend Skeld school mothballing

It’s deeply unfair and a miserable fate for the bairns who have to travel so far, daily. Not to go fishing, but to attend school!

The council is due to consider this, frankly, heartless recommendation on Monday.

Let’s hope councillors will recognise that, for young children, the subjective time spent sitting, sick, in the back seat of a car or bus will seem like an eternity.

Given the above nursery provision failure, mothballing now would be a travesty.

This is a heartless, wrong-headed cut that will hit some of the most defenceless in Shetland society, young children.

I sincerely hope and trust that councillors will reject mothballing, emphatically.

John Tulloch

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