I am more than a little disgusted by the latest in a series of threats against Scalloway Junior High School, especially since the justification for this is supposedly financial, even though the figures quoted have repeatedly been challenged and shown to be inaccurate or inadequate.
Since I moved back to Shetland in 2001, there has been no peace from the uncertainty surrounding the future of our community school, which, inevitably, has led to a crisis in confidence among the parents of children who might have gone there. Many have elected to send their children to the Anderson High School, in order to ensure continuity, despite their first preference being Scalloway.
At one point there was talk of expanding the school to include fifth and sixth-year provision, presumably because it was seen to be a flourishing and successful school. That came to nothing, much to the disappointment of some of the children, who had to transfer to the AHS to continue their studies.
Two of my three children attended Scalloway school and both of them enjoyed their time there. Many people who have grown up here would prefer that their own children could enjoy the warmth and friendliness of this much respected community provision.
Scalloway is a growing community and really needs to retain its school, in order to provide the facilities necessary for the next generations. To now talk about closing a vibrant, well-appointed and modern school, in order to shoe-horn more children into the AHS (which is already struggling to offer proper canteen and social facilities to existing students) is, frankly, insane.
I would urge councillors to oppose this ridiculous plan and to undertake to stop making any more threats to our community school. It’s unfair, unjustified and very unsettling for students and their parents.
I would also bring their attention to the following: “To maintain the vitality and viability of the rural areas, the council will continue to support and invest in the existing network of schools and the communities they support. The council will also actively support the development of higher educational and associated facilities, including the University of the Highlands and Islands, particularly where they contribute to the social and economic development of communities.” That is taken from the council’s own “Structure Plan 2001-2016”, under Community Services and Facilities, Policy CSF SP1. Perhaps councillors don’t read their own policies.
28 Sycamore Avenue,