Henderson joins North Isles colleagues in calling for Skerries school to be saved
The third North Isles councillor has added his support to saving the Skerries secondary department from closure.
Robert Henderson says the projected £73,473-saving is too small given the valuable £4 million contribution folk in Skerries make to the wider Shetland economy through fishing and salmon.
He has called on fellow councillors to adapt a more “balanced” approach when they meet to discuss the school’s fate on Thursday.
“Skerries contributes a massive amount to the Shetland economy,” he said.
“Are we going to surrender the island for the sake of £73,000 when with fishing and salmon, I reckon, they contribute at least about £4 million to the Shetland economy?
“There needs to be a balancing act, but whether any other councillors take that view or not is something I can’t tell. It’ll all come out in the wash on Thursday.”
Last week fellow North Isles members Steven Coutts and Gary Cleaver each supported keeping the secondary department open.
Residents say they are unwilling to force their children to travel from Skerries to Lerwick for their education in the Anderson High School if the decision is made to close the island’s secondary department.
It is feared a decision to close by councillors could prompt an exodus of families from the small isle community.
But a consultation report before Thursday’s education and families committee recommends closure of Skerries secondary from next summer.
It recognises a high quality of education provided in Skerries, but insists: “Educating such small numbers of children together is not the best possible educational opportunity.”