Record administration costs? (Gordon Dargie)

Please, sir, can I have some more?

I am all in favour of arithmetic and can’t seem to get enough of it.

So while I am grateful for the prompt response (The Shetland Times, 27th May) from councillor Jonathan Wills and for the several figures he includes, I have to ask, yet again, just how much does it cost this council to administer its schools?

And if we are now being told that the council could save £1million in administration costs, I have to ask, that’s £1million from what sort of total?

Can it really be that the cost of administering education for each of the 3,300 primary and secondary pupils in Shetland runs into thousands? Does any council spend more? Is this a record?

I am sad to read about all the time that has gone since my near contemporary friend Jonathan passed his O-grade arithmetic. Perhaps the silent majority of his fellow councillors should help come up with the answers. Can it really be that they presided over record administration costs while they cut schools?

Gordon Dargie


Add Your Comment
  • Christopher Ritch

    • May 30th, 2011 13:48

    I think the total cost for running the schools in Shetland is around 38 million pounds per year. Uyeasound primary costs around 150 thousand per year, or a fraction of 1%. Burravoe costs are similar.

    In Shetland, the average cost per primary pupil is £6,718. Jonathan thinks this is expensive, and admittedly it is higher than the Scottish average. It is however lower than comparable areas such as Orkney and the Western Isles.

    Secondary costs are higher, around £10,000 per pupil according to the Blueprint figures. I don’t know the split for primary/secondary numbers, but I would not be surprised if administration costs are more than 10 million pounds per year.

  • Marina Thomason

    • May 30th, 2011 21:34

    Interestingly, in each of the 4 consultation reports for the schools proposed for closure is a table giving cost per primary pupil information for Shetland, Orkney, Western Isles and All local authorities. Shetland is the cheapest compared to Orkney and the Western Isles, which is really the only other authorities that we can be compared to because our pupil numbers and geography is not dis-similar. Cost per pupil is a case of a scale of economies – obviously the scottish figure will be less than rural areas with less pupils. It also depends on the individual school roll for that particular year.

    It goes on to say in the report ” The most up-to-date cost per pupil figures available for 2010/11, from the Scottish Government for Shetland schools are 12,995 pounds for Uyeasound primary school and 11,296 for Baltasound Junior High School Primary Department.” Eh? The Scottish Government does not have information detailing cost per pupil figures for individual schools, so don’t know where that statement comes from.

    They also forget to mention in the report that (quote from Scottish Government website) “The all local authorities per pupil figure is based on total gross expenditure adjusted for inter-authority and inter-account transfers. Local authority figures uses unadjusted gross expenditure figures and are therefore not strictly comparable.” So basically, best to ignore the table in the report as it is completely mis-leading.

  • Christopher Ritch

    • May 31st, 2011 9:24

    Marina – surely the schools service would never produce reports that are biased and misleading, in many places plain wrong and certainly not in the spirit of a genuine, open, clear and transparent consultation???

    Anybody prepared to hazard a guess at the cost of this blueprint consultation sham?


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