We, the Parent Council at Olnafirth Primary School, are disappointed that no clear statement has been issued with regards to closure of our school. We were under the impression that the council had taken the very sensible decision to hold off on any school closures until a clear policy for education provision in Shetland had been developed. It would have made sense that in order for a meaningful strategy to be developed it should consider all of Shetland’s schools. We would like the council to answer clearly the following:
1. When you have stated that you are delaying school closures until you have a clear strategy developed why would you single out a school for separate treatment?
2 Given that the Commission for Rural Education has not yet released its report, which may very well have a bearing on the provision of rural education, are the council choosing to ignore the benefits this may bring by proceeding with consultation barely four months before the report will be made public?
3. Are the council choosing to ignore the moratorium on rural school closures requested by education secretary Mike Russell, which was meant to ensure school closures are considered properly and can take full account of the Commission for Rural Education’s findings?
4. Given the very clear steer from the Scottish government which itself appealed the decision to close schools in the Western Isles in June this year, is the council not acting contrary to all perceived wisdom with regards school closures?
5. Would waiting to at least see the results of the review by the commission be considered prudent?
We are not unreasonable and would be willing to discuss a properly considered proposal. For this to be the case we feel that any consultation must wait until the commission has delivered its findings and we must be considered as part of the bigger picture with respect to education provision within Shetland. Anything else would appear to be merely paying lip service to the idea of developing a consistent strategy and jumping to the answer the council has already decided upon.
The Parent Council of Olnafirth Primary School.