Huge and tragic mistake (Vivienne Rendall)

It must be soul-destroying, leading to lack of motivation and indeed, leading to the lack of will to live I should think, teaching in one of the schools on one of the outer islands, or a school not near Lerwick.

I see from The Shetland Times that discussion of the threat of closure to the Burravoe Primary School has been deferred until 2015. I’m sure the headmistress at Burravoe can hardly believe her luck. A year’s grace! She must be in despair.

I worked in a secondary school in the north-east of England that was under threat of closure for 14 years before the axe finally fell. The effects of that on the staff cannot be imagined.

I’m surprised that Shetland is still able to recruit teachers.

Closing all the little schools, the hearts of their various communities, will be seen to have been a huge and tragic mistake in future, when it’s too late to do anything about it.

My husband and I have had links with the Burravoe school going back more than 40 years, and it is, and always has been, a first-rate little school, giving its pupils a sound and broad education.

Each Shetland Island Council seems to be more dysfunctional than the last. Each seems to be distinguished by bad decision-making, not to mention wasting millions of pounds.

I’m sure there must be other ways of making savings than by closing schools, penalising pensioners and cutting waste disposal skips.

But for heaven’s sake, keep hands off the schools.

Vivienne Rendall
17 Moor View,
Melkridge,
Haltwhistle,
Northumberland.

3 comments

  1. Robert Duncan

    “Each Shetland Island Council seems to be more dysfunctional than the last. Each seems to be distinguished by bad decision-making, not to mention wasting millions of pounds.”

    I struggle to see it this way. The problem we’ve had is that previous Councils have done their best to eak out whatever’s left of funding to deliver services, happy to pass the problems on to the next lot rather than upset any of their electorate. Instead the decisions just get harder and harder, so we’re left the current situation where we have increasingly little choice but to make fairly drastic changes. The current lot have finally stood up and said, “things need to change”, set genuine targets for savings, and have generally achieved their aims to date.

    You say, “I’m sure there must be other ways of making savings than by closing schools, penalising pensioners and cutting waste disposal skips”, and if you have any suggestions I’m sure those in charge would be delighted to hear them.

    Reply
  2. Johan Adamson

    I struggle to see it this way, Robert. What happened was we overspent on empire building for the SIC and then with the worldwide market crash we realised we had left nothing for the rainy day and that we could not sustain some of these projects, so we are belt trimming now. The belt trimming should be in areas that are not core council services, but in the businesses they proport to run. Not to schools but the quarry, the airport, payroll services, IT services, money to other trusts, the excessive admin where it exists.

    Reply
  3. Michael Garriock

    @ Robert Duncan,

    “….if you have any suggestions I’m sure those in charge would be delighted to hear them”.

    I seriously doubt that, very much. I’m pretty sure many suggestions have been made that have been virtually ignored, or only paid lip service to, for, one can only assume political or personal reasons.

    There are some inalienable facts, you need a CEO to act as the link between elected members and employees and a place for the buck to stop. You need front line personnel delivering service to the end user. What you have in between the two should be the absolute minimum possible and the most cost effective possible. It isn’t, and arguably is anything but.

    Cutting service provision to the end user without first literally emptying numerous offices, is a political tactic designed to make the plebs feel something is being done without disturbing too many internal apple carts.

    Reply

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