GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Saturday 18 May 2024
 11.3°C   NE Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Education / West councillor ‘saddened’ by decision to mothball school

THE COUNCILLOR who fought against the mothballing of a Shetland primary school says the decision marked a “sad day” for the area.

On Monday members of Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) education and families committee voted eight against two to mothball Skeld Primary School.

It currently has four pupils in primary and two in its nursery, and under principles approved last year the threshold for consideration of mothballing there is 12 pupils. The children at the school will now transfer to Aith Junior High after the summer.

Councillor Liz Peterson, Shetland West’s representative on the committee, tried to push through an amendment against the recommendation to mothball but failed to gain enough support.

Shetland West councillor Liz Peterson Photo: Shetland News

She continued to dispute the opinion of the council that the majority of parents in the area were not opposed to mothballing.

Councillors who backed mothballing noted the small school roll when it came to opportunities for group learning, as well as the social aspect.

Speaking after the meeting, Peterson said: “I think I can speak for the whole Westside when I say I am very saddened by the decision taken.

“For elected members to disregard the clear message from the community, and instead vote to mothball the school, means they have been denied the statutory right to full consultation, and their views and concerns have not been taken into consideration.”

She added: “There is no evidence, and there have been no concerns voiced, with regard to collaborative working in the school, as was discussed, and everyone will have their own view on the advantages, and disadvantages of smaller/larger schools.

“I don’t feel this should have been the main consideration, on which members based their vote, instead I feel that full consultation should have been allowed, as this would have given the community the opportunity to have their say, this would have been the more democratic process to follow.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

The SIC’s children’s services director Helen Budge said at Monday’s meeting that there had been three months of assessment on the matter, including meetings with staff and parents, after which the recommendation to mothball followed.

The council had used a mothballing toolkit designed by education partnership Northern Alliance.

The councillor who moved to approve the recommendation to mothball, Shetland Central’s Moraig Lyall, said whilst it was a difficult decision she felt today’s increased emphasis on collaborative learning and group work could not be achieved in a school with only four primary pupils.

Should Skeld’s roll rise to 12 pupils in the future, a conversation will be held by central officers with parents, carers and children about re-opening the school.

There will be an annual review of the decision, along with other current mothballed schools – Papa Stour, Skerries and Fetlar.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.