24th May 2018
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Parents create forum to fight plans to close country schools

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Parents in Shetland have joined forces to create a special forum to act on issues including the SIC’s current proposals to close a number of country schools.

Following a meeting in Voe last week between eight parent councils in the isles and Justin Willey from the Scottish Rural Schools Network (SRSN), parents agreed to form a forum affiliated to the national network.

Last month councillors agreed to proceed to a consultation on closing five small primary schools, along with the secondary departments in Scalloway and Skerries. The proposal to close Scalloway has prompted a huge outcry, with over 1,700 people joining a Facebook group opposed to seeing it shut.

SRSN was formed in 2005 by local groups campaigning against closures in Borders, Moray, Angus and elsewhere. The groups petitioned for reform of school closures procedures and their campaign assisted the drawing up of the Scottish Rural Schools Closures Act, which became law in April.

A spokeswoman for the Shetland group said: “Mr Willey gave local parents a presentation on the requirements on local authorities as a result of this act. He also provided examples from across Scotland of school closure decisions which have been halted or reversed after local communities established flaws in their local authority’s financial or educational arguments.”

Consultations will begin later this year on closures and, if councillors decide to press ahead with the plans, their decisions will have to be ratified by Scottish government ministers.

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