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Education / Petition handed to SIC amid Skeld parent council concern at mothballing report

THE SKELD parent council has claimed a report due to go to councillors next week on the primary school’s possible mothballing has “several inaccuracies”.

It disputes an assumption that the majority of families in the Skeld catchment area do not oppose the mothballing.

Skeld parent Richard Boot handing in the petition opposing mothballing.

It comes as a petition opposing mothballing which contains more than 500 signatures was handed into Shetland Islands Council (SIC) ahead of Monday’s education and families committee meeting.

A report due to go in front of the committee at the meeting will recommend that councillors approve the mothballing of Skeld Primary School.

The recommendation to mothball – which would result in pupils moving to Aith Junior High School – comes after three months of assessment, which included consultation with the school community.

The report says there were seven primary pupils at the school in November, and as of March this year there were four in the primary and two in nursery.

The threshold for consideration of mothballing at Skeld is 12 pupils.

The council says the projected rolls up to 2026/27 for the primary remains four, and in 2024/25 there is one pupil expected in the nursery.

In 2024/25 there are 12 primary aged children who live in Skeld’s catchment area, but eight of them will attend other schools in the Westside through the choice of their families.

The SIC has classified those parents and carers who have submitted placing requests for their children to attend other Westside schools as not being in opposition to the Skeld mothballing proposal.

But this has been disputed by the parent council, which has written again to SIC elected members ahead of Monday’s meeting.

It claims nine of the 12 families within the catchment area oppose the mothballing – evidenced by those with placing requests signing the petition.

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The parent council adds the stance of the remaining three families is unknown.

It has also expressed concern that transport logistics have already been discussed at a recent parent council meting, and claims there is an absence of a “viable” un-mothballing policy.

The parent council also said it advocates a consultation which involves the wider community.

The SIC’s children’s services director Helen Budge said: “On 15 April 2024 a report on the mothballing of Skeld Primary School will be presented to the council’s education and families committee.

“The report will include all the information gathered through Assessing the Situation stage of the Mothballing Toolkit.

“It will be for the education and families committee to make a decision on the mothballing of Skeld Primary School.”

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