Is it just me, or is there any significance in the fact that the two schools singled out for closure are in the North Isles and the two to be kept open are Mainland schools?
I am from Unst and was living in Haroldswick when the SIC of that day decided to close the school there, around 1996. We decided to move to Brae to ensure decent continuity in our son’s education as he was at that time in primary five. So if they say it didn’t cause de-population, they’re wrong.
About that time they also closed Unst Airport which led to more young working families with children moving to the Mainland to take up similar jobs at Scatsta.
It seemed then, as it still seems now, that the SIC is determined to drag everything away from the outer isles and peripheral Mainland areas and get everything “in aboot da toon”.
I cite the closure of Scalloway Junior High secondary and the transporting of its pupils to Lerwick, the building of more council offices in the North Ness when they could have been in Scalloway or Brae or wherever.
And of course, lest we forget, the AFB’s shiny new headquarters at Hay’s Dock, which is fast becoming Gwylim’s Folly!
I recall writing a wee poem at the time of the first attempt at closing the Haroldswick and Uyeasound schools and, having re-read it, I find it is just as applicable today as it was then, although Unst now has (in the new century) two very fine piers and a wonderful care centre, all of which were hard fought for.
It is called Yun Coonty Fokk.
Yun coonty fokk in Lerook! Boy! Dey shurely tink wis fuls
Dey couldn’a sort wir ferries so dey tried tae close wir schuls
An’ send wir bairns tae Balti, til a beeldin’ new an’ rare
But dey never tocht tae ax wis, did we want dem tae geng dere?
Dere’s naethin’ wrang wi’ peerie schuls, da edication’s fine
Da teachers ir aa’ splendid, so why pit dat on da line?
Is it caes wir on a island? dat’s what I’d laek ta know,
Caes yere beelt a schul in Vidlin whin dere’s een ower by in Voe!
An while A’m on da subjik, lit me tell you what I tink
Caes da fokk here is past carin’ if we sood raise an awful stink
Yun coonty fokk in Lerook! Boy! dey fairly git me doon
Dey’re savin money i’da Isles so dey can spend mair i’ da Toon
Yun coonty fokk in Lerook! Boy! dey fairly mak me spew
A clood hings ower da airport, noo I hear he’s closin’ too
We hae nae Ferry o’ wir ain, nae wark dere I can tell
Fur up until noo lately ye hed tae be fae Yell!
Nae care centre fur wir auld fokk, We hae nae decent pier
Dey say we’ll git een sometime! Neest centiry I fear.
An’ if we hae sae little, dis questin I most ax
Whit wye ir we aa’ peyin’ sae muckle cooncil tax?
So. Whit tae do wi puir auld Unst? Dis wirds I hear you say,
Ye’ll mibbe git a lesson fae yer pals in Linger Bay
Ye’ll laekely aa’ be noticed Unst is med o’ solid staen
So jist start a Super Quarry, an’ keep diggin’ til it’s geen.