Consultant recommends closure of Aith and Sandwick secondary departments
The council should press ahead with statutory consultation over the proposed closure of Aith and Sandwick Junior High Schools.
That is the advice of a report due to go before members of the education and families committee next Wednesday.
Should members agree with the recommendation it will mean youngsters from Aith will transfer to the Anderson High School in August next year, while Sandwick pupils will go to the Lerwick school in 2016 once the new Anderson High has been built – or earlier if the existing school can find room for them.
Councillors are also being urged to consider axe-ing secondary education in Whalsay, Yell and Unst for S3 and S4 pupils from 2015/16.
If implemented that will mean youngsters being sent to the Anderson High School from the end of their second year.
The plans will undoubtedly provoke a strong reaction from people in the outlying areas – particularly in the West Side where the campaign body Aith Action Group has been formed to fight the junior high school’s corner.
Only yesterday youngsters who fear much of their leisure time will be wiped out by lengthy bus journeys as they travel to and from their lessons in Lerwick handed over 160 postcards detailing their favourite after-school hobbies.
The recommendations have been drawn up by education consultant Don Ledingham, who will address councillors in the town hall next week.
The SIC says the changes will help in its efforts to shave £3.25 million from the school’s education budget.
The recommendation also advises an ambitious partnership be forged between Shetland’s two high schools and the further education sector.
SIC chief executive Mark Boden would lead the co-ordination of the alliance.
A “Shetland Learning Campus” could also be created, allowing schools to be seen as “interconnected” learning environments.