We can’t afford these small schools (Jonathan Wills)

Okay, here’s the message in seven words: “We can’t afford all these small schools.”

I’m sure the SIC schools service will be happy to provide the detailed figures requested by your correspondents, who dispute this statement of the obvious. There’s no reason for secrecy.

I make my own voting decisions on the published information supplied to the council at its public sessions. Officials know that I frequently ask awkward questions abut the numbers. They also know that when I accept that a case has been made then I will support it, no matter how much mud is slung in my direction.

Jonathan Wills
Town Hall,


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  • Christopher Ritch

    • June 1st, 2011 10:27

    “I’m sure the SIC schools service will be happy to provide the detailed figures requested by your correspondents, who dispute this statement of the obvious. There’s no reason for secrecy.”


    Does this mean that you don’t actually know the percentage spent on administration, Jonathan?

  • Marina Thomason

    • June 1st, 2011 10:54

    From my little understanding of financial situation re education in Shetland (you would need to have a degree in accountancy to understand how it works) it appears that it is secondary education in Shetland that is expensive, not primary. Correct me if I’m wrong but from what I see we spend about 5 million pounds more on secondary education than Orkney. We also spend more on primary than Orkney but we have more primary pupils and the cost per pupil works out less than what is spent per pupil in both Orkney and the Western Isles.

    I know you ask questions in the council chambers, Jonathon. I was there at the meeting last June at the Town hall where you asked Helen Budge if the bus journeys that the school children would have to go on would be longer than half an hour. She said it would be “there and there abouts” or words to that effect. The bus taking secondary pupils to Mid Yell from Cullivoe takes 35 mins at the moment in good weather conditions. The bus driver reckons that if Cullivoe shut it would take about 45mins due to the extra pick-ups on route. People don’t realise that the bus does not go straight from Cullivoe to Mid-Yell, it goes down to Gutcher and around North-A-Voe. Helen Budge knows this as she attended our consultation meeting at Cullivoe school and we discussed it and she actually suggested to me that we put down that the bus would take 50 minutes due to the extra pick-ups! She might not think there is a big difference between 30 minutes and 45 minutes but I think it makes a world of difference to a 5 year old travelling each morning on a bus.


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