Views from the Scord 31.10.08

Harbour activity

ANOTHER quiet week in Scalloway, with the prevailing westerlies driving the majority of oil and fishing related vessels around to the east side, resulting in poor landings through the Scalloway market.

The indefatigable Ronja Settler continues to operate regardless of the weather from Scalloway for the Scottish Sea Farms factory at Blacksness.

The Grampian Frontier came to port on Tuesday and after a sub-sea inspection by Malakoff divers she set sail again for Denmark for dry-dock and minor repairs.

The Faroese coaster Sirius came alongside on Sunday to discharge feed for aquaculture to the Scalloway stores.

Fish landings totalled a mere 210 boxes for the week all from the local vessel Fertile.

Line-caught mackerel landings were at their lowest in recent times with only three boxes put through the Scalloway market in the week to Friday.

The pollution incident below the Scord last week required the harbour operatives to continue monitoring the booms deployed across the Mill Burn until Saturday, at which time the booms were displaced by the storm.

Burra fish and chips

The Burra Public Hall will be holding a fish and chip night tomorrow in aid of funds.

The fish and chips will be served from 4pm until 7pm and this will be followed with a quiz night in the upstairs bar of the hall.

The bar will be open throughout the evening from 4pm to 7pm.

Community council

The Burra and Trondra Community Council meets on Monday for its November sitting.

If you have any issue you would like raised please contact a community councillor, the community council clerk, or go along to the meeting yourself.

Should you wish to make contact, the community councillors for Burra and Trondra are Bobby Hunter, Billy Hughes, Jonathon Duncan, Adalene Fullerton, June Henry, Larry Moncrieff, Kim Tait and Leslie Tait.

Blueprint for education

On Monday in Scalloway there will be a public consultation meeting on the subject of the Blueprint for Education staged by the SIC schools service.

The meeting will consist of a presentation followed by the formation of groups among those present, each to be given key questions to form the basis of a discussion. The outcome of these discussions will be returned as feedback to the chair of the meeting and ultimately back to the SIC.

The meeting also provides an opportunity to examine the new Curriculum for Excellence and potential changes to exam procedures. The Scalloway meeting encompasses all of the central area of Shetland, excluding Lerwick, and parents or other interested parties from throughout this area should attend as this is their opportunity to participate in the consultative process.

The future outcome for Scalloway, Hamnavoe and Tingwall schools will undoubtedly be affected by information gleaned from these meetings so it is in the interest of everyone in the area to become involved. Along with the meetings a questionnaire has been compiled which will be available on the night and from various other sources, complete with pre-paid envelopes for return.

The blueprint has come across previously as controversial with much debate as to the potential of school closures and the necessity of nationally or locally-set minimum class sizes to justify schools remaining open.

However, it would seem that the blueprint encompasses much more than just this and is portrayed as an effort to establish a fully cohesive future plan for education provision in Shetland, the goal being to set council policy first, before financial or political matters have to be addressed. That is to say that public opinion will affect the priority placed upon school rationalisation or development.

This subject ranges from the issue of nursery provision to greater liaison between schools and colleges in the area and the advancement of things like vocational education, whereby links between colleges and schools would be strengthened with pupils able to attend both concurrently or, through outreach education programs, college education placed within existing schools.

Rural parts of Shetland that are currently in decline could be made to be more desirable regions in which to live with improved educational opportunities, including in trades. This may even affect future housing policy for Shetland with current proposals seeming to favour centralisation.

Technology is a key factor in the future of education delivery with the adoption of current video-conferencing technology potentially allowing smaller schools to offer wider curriculums with teachers for particular subjects being centrally located and broadcasting lessons to outlying schools.

This approach is already being used with great success in Orkney with language classes in rural schools, in some cases, already being delivered from as far away as Inverness. Teaching in this format would make the already strained education budget much more cost effective and smaller schools more viable.

The Scalloway public consultation, the first of 15 such meetings, coincides with Scalloway Junior High School’s parents’ evening and it is hoped by the organisers that this will bolster numbers who attend the meeting. However, another meeting is planned for December for those unable to combine the two.

The organisers envisage a really busy time ahead of them as the results of all these meetings and the questionnaire have to be collated and presented to the full council at the beginning of next year and all feedback will be have to be carefully considered before then.

This whole process is described as “critical for Shetland” at this time and Jim Reyner, who will be the lead officer for the Scalloway meeting, hopes this will be seen as a worthwhile exercise. He encourages attendance and participation at this meeting.

The meeting starts at 7pm in the Scalloway Junior High School music hall and is open to everybody.

Sunday teas and car boot sale

The Scalloway Gala Committee is holding a car boot sale and Sunday teas on Sunday in the Scalloway Public Hall in aid of the gala, building on the success of their previous sale.

The hall will be open from 2pm until 4pm and for information on booking tables people can contact Julie on (01595) 880906 or Tracy on (01595) 880490.

The Hallowe’en party organised by them last weekend for local bairns was a great success with over 40 children taking part.

The power cut on Saturday night forced a postponement until Sunday night for the seasonal spree but fortunately the jungle telegraph operated superbly and everybody got word of the postponement.

The two-hour event was said to have “flown by” in the enjoyment of the games and activities.

Mark Burgess


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