Destroying the future (Christopher Ritch)

It saddens me that the schools service report recommends closing the small rural schools.

Consultation meetings and responses clearly show that the community values these schools and strongly feels they should remain open.

In Unst we accept that we will never compete on a commodity basis and the result is micro brewery ales, niche market salmon, croft produce and free-range bairns.

From PURE energy to URGE veggies Unst can be proud of the developing micro economy here, but we must accept that costs are higher. Some things are worth paying a little extra for – thriving remote communities I suggest is one example.

Does the SIC have no vision? Take away these schools and effectively you destroy the future for fragile rural areas.

Christopher Ritch


Add Your Comment
  • P Fraser

    • May 4th, 2011 10:18

    The SNP government fully endorsed the SIC’s decision to close Scalloway Secondary School against the wishes of the community. Despite the fact that fragile rural communities in Shetland also wish their schools to stay open there is little doubt that a future SNP government will also endorse the SIC’s decision to close them.

  • Elizabeth Johnson

    • May 4th, 2011 10:51

    I agree wholeheartedly with Christopher. To survive on and island is difficult and to take away schools is certainly not the way ahead. We need all the facilities and jobs we can get in the most rural areas and the consultation has clearly shown that our communities do not want their schools to close. All businesses in Unst are committed to Shetland and Unst but all agree it is not an easy option to operate from where we are, neither an easy option for any other remote community in Shetland. I personally have a vision. This consists of the Council giving some autonomy to rural schools and a loan in order that all the rural schools can install their own community renewables to provide energy for their schools and, more importantly, secure sustainable income to sustain the schools. This would be a win win situation would it not? A sustainable plan for all the rural schools could be developed without difficulty.

  • Marina Thomason

    • May 6th, 2011 17:18

    The nort isles have so much going for them and most of what is happening in the isles is because of enterprising individuals and groups of people pulling together within communities.

    I think what people forget is that Lerwick needs to sustain the businesses in rural areas, especially the aquaculture industry. Salmon farming is a multi-million pound business in Shetland and a lot of it takes place in very remote parts of Shetland. Correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know this creates employment, jobs at the fish factory in Lerwick and also supports other local companies and businesses in Shetland. If you close schools and effectively lessen the number of available employees are workers really going to commute from mainland Shetland to Unst to work at a salmon farm? With ferry fares and the cost of fuel I’d be very surprised. More likely that the business would falter and perhaps eventually be unable to operate.

    Sometimes I think that some of our elected members would be quite happy if there was not a living soul in any of the nort isles. It is especially important considering the remoteness of Unst and Yell that our schools and communities are left intact. If they can’t do anything positive to support us then they should at least do no harm.


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