Stunned at decision (Vivienne Rendall)
I cannot have been the only person to have read with stunned disbelief and amazement the headline in The Shetland Times that the SIC is to spend £100,000 on a skateboard park.
The council will “save” about this amount of money by closing the Burravoe School. What this says about the priorities and the values of the SIC I cannot begin to express.
My husband and I are visiting the islands to visit kin in Mid Yell and Burravoe so have travelled the road between the two settlements several times. I am 70 years old and it frightens me.
I understand that the children will be bussed to and fro in a 46-seater bus. I should like to challenge the entire council to hire a 46-seater coach and make the journey from Burravoe to Mid Yell and back and see if they are still of a mind that it is entirely a good thing to subject children of any age to travel this route by this method.
Incidentally we were at the open day at the Old Haa in Burravoe on Saturday 4th June and were astonished and delighted to hear the Burravoe School bairns and the Cullivoe bairns singing Inuit songs.
Our admiration for the rich education the Burravoe bairns are receiving was further enhanced by the small figures made from different rocks, echoing the large figures in the Old Haa garden, made by the children of Burravoe School with an audio commentary done by the children using all the correct geological terms in a very knowledgeable way.
We are grieved that the SIC can even consider for a minute closing a school of this obvious quality with its extraordinary breadth of experiences for its children.
I see from the 2001 census, quoted in the book <i>Shetland in Statistics 2010</i>, that the populaton of Yell was given as 957. I believe it is now down to about 800. In 1931 it was 1,883.
Closing a school in a small, isolated community is not going to encourage people to move to, or to stay in, a place without a school.
These will be my last words on the subject. I hope that common sense will prevail, even if it is the Scottish government that makes the final, “final” decision.
More in sorrow than in anger.
17 Moor View,