It’s your own fault (Scotty van der Tol)

How dare Aith Parent Council accuse the SIC of casting a cloud over Aith school when it was themselves and their own communities who cast that cloud?

When we in Scalloway were fighting closure we made it very clear to the Aith and Sandwick junior high communities that it was not Scalloway that was being attacked but the junior high model itself.

I wrote to Readers’ Views and stated perfectly clearly that the case for closure was applicable to all junior high schools and that if you did not oppose it you would be next, and when that day came you would have no case or defence.

Anyone in the West Side and South Mainland constituencies has no right to utter a word of complaint. All your councillors voted to accept the report that said the junior high model was no longer valid. You elected them. You did not pressure them to keep Scalloway open. You did not say anything to them when they voted to close Scalloway. In fact you endorsed their ending of the junior high model by re-electing them. You and your communities did actively set the precedent for ending the junior high model and having your own junior high schools closed. The fact you did not listen when you were so clearly warned is your own foolishness. Please do not insult us further by complaining because you do not like the consequences of your actions and apathetic inaction.

The cold hard truth is you did this to yourselves and you should feel pretty foolish right now.

Scotty van der Tol
East Voe,


Add Your Comment
  • Debra Nicolson

    • September 6th, 2012 12:45

    I think it is unfair to say people on the Westside affected by the proposed closure of Aith did not object to the closure of Scalloway secondary dept. Of course I can only speak for myself but I certainly did not accept the closure and voiced my opinion to the council that I thought the AHS was not fit to take the extra pupils then and I am still of that belief today.

  • James Mackenzie

    • September 6th, 2012 13:44

    I beg your pardon, Mr. van der Tol, but how do you know how everyone voted on the Westside and in the South Mainland at the last election?

    And, unless I’m dreaming, neither Theo Smith nor Billy Fox were “re-elected”.

  • paul barlow

    • September 6th, 2012 16:13

    Scotty your gloating really does you no favours. For your information most people were opposed to Scalloway closing. However there are major differences

    1. Transport the main community of Scalloway is served by decent roads that are far better than our single track network. With the cut in gritting some of our roads will be unpassable during bad weather.

    2. Time it does not take anywhere near as long to transport your children to the Anderson as it will for those that live in the far west. 2-3 hours for the return journey is too much. Even worse for those from Unst going to Yell.

    3. Cost the transport costs alone to transport a child to and from the Anderson will be roughly £600 per child. For those living outwith the allowed travel zone the hostel costs will have to be added.

    4. Capacity the Anderson with the addition of the hundred extra children will be full. As those that are familiar with the school they will know that it is struggling to cope during dinner time and is crowded when the lessons change.

    Now if they could prove their cost savings we would find it difficult to fight. However using their ball park figures. The Anderson costs roughly 8k a year and Aith roughly 10k. They claim that they will save £690,000. However in fact they will save £200,000 if a straight swap was to happen. but then deduct the transport costs and other extra costs and the saving will be around £100,000.

    Now your claim that the council members we voted in were in favour of the closing is factually untrue with this election i studied each of the candidates electoral manifestos. the only one that wanted the closing of the junior highs is the one that is now representing scalloway.

    We the parents of the Aith school are aware that savings need to be made but there are better ways to save money. lots of these were raised at the meeting.
    even the council admits that they don’t have the figures to hand which is very worrying.

  • Iris Sandison

    • September 8th, 2012 8:36

    When Scalloway Secondary Dept was put forward for closure, there were indeed worries throughout Shetland that this would be the thin edge of the wedge. However, we all took comfort from the article in the Shetland Times newspaper, dated Fri 3rd December, 2010.
    Quote: ”That is a viewpoint which has been coming from Scalloway and Scalloway alone,” he told The Shetland Times. ”It forms no part of council policy or of council thoughts. I think it will be a difficult enough decision to close Scalloway. I don’t believe there is a will in the county, or within the council, to see virtually all secondaries closed.
    I don’t think we’ll be bussing the entire secondary population of the West Side into Lerwick. I just don’t think we’ll be doing it.
    The next nearest thing to a school in danger might be Sandwick, but it’s quite a big school and I don’t think that will happen either.” (Cllr Bill Manson, Education Spokesman.)
    And we should believe our politicians… shouldn’t we?

  • Robert Simpson

    • September 8th, 2012 11:45

    “told you so! told you so na na nana na!!”

  • Ian McCormack

    • September 10th, 2012 17:44

    Personally I thought this readers view was delusional and pathetic!! On the west side we cared about Scalloway JH closing and we were concerned also about Aith, Brae and Sandwick school. I think Scotty Dybel, oops I mean van der Tol just has not gotten over the fact that Scalloway people refused to vote him into the council. So before you slate just about everyone in Shetland outside the constituancy you ran for, Get yer facts straight!!!

    Mr Paul Barlow ……… WELL SAID!!!!!

  • Iris Sandison

    • September 10th, 2012 18:22

    Shame you missed the point, Mr Simpson.

  • Jane Haswell

    • September 10th, 2012 23:34

    Shetland Community – In the Education Departments own Application for Scottish Futures Trust Funding for a new Anderson High it states that moving AHS to a site beside the Clickamin will “improve & enhance a community facility” – so taking that evidenced point forward – the closures of Junior Highs would therefore have the opposite effect on a rural community facility – the leisure centres.

    It is the whole rural community viability model that is under threat – get your housing application in quick the “community” is moving to Lerwick! Oh I forgot there is a housing waiting list the length of a bus! How crazy is all this?

    Domino effect of all of this is the irreversible changes are being made within the education provisions that will have profound effect on rural viability.

    It’s not acceptable to be setting the same% savings across all departments irrespective of their function – there are fundamental core services & equality of access to local community education is one.

    Some Councillors are clearly listening. I do believe there is a will to prioritise & look at the interconnections before rushing through on savings alone. Joined up thinking has to have decentralisation at its heart. By decentralising we protect both town & rural communities which are by definition interdependent.

    For the sake of all children in Shetland I hope the Education & Families Committee have the courage to step back & prioritise the cuts.

  • Iris Sandison

    • September 11th, 2012 12:21

    Well said, Jane. Rural communities in Shetland are, for the most part, thriving areas – and that is due in no small part to the fact that our children have a locally based secondary education. In fact, many families have moved TO rural districts because of the standard of education their bairns receive and because travel times to and from home are acceptable.

    Were the Junior HIgh Secondary depts to close, it is inevitable that families will move out and head to somewhere nearer Lerwick. What’s more, we’re unlikely to see young couples/families moving into rural areas, when they know that their children, come the age of 11 or 12, will face lengthy journeys daily, to and from the AHS.

    Therefore, the outlook for rural communities is not good. What will we lose first? Local shop? Local Dr? And so on and so on. But it’s OK… we’ll get an economic development officer to come along and advise us on how to make our communities viable! What nonsense.

    This is an opportunity for the SIC to think outside the box. We know cuts have to be made but to crash ahead with a proposal that will have such far-reaching and devastating effects cannot, surely, be the only way to do it.

    We have a new Council. The members are not obliged to take on the hastily-suggested ‘Go away and refresh the blueprint for education,’ which was plucked out of the air in the dying minutes of a day-long meeting, in the dying weeks of an out-going Council.

    I hope there can be a step back – a holistic look at our financial problems and a more acceptable proposal than the one now facing us all.

  • David Spence

    • September 11th, 2012 16:58

    I do believe the better option would be to close the leisure centres and keep the schools, marked for closure or have been closed, open. Leisure Centres that remain, probably, empty for a large percentage of the time, costing probably equal if not more to run, and is very much a self indulgent activity that has no or very little influence on the community. If they Olympics are anything to go by, it has cost each and every person in the UK around £220 to host the Games……..and for who…..a very, exceedingly small minority of people whose achievement is totally selfish in the extreme, like our over-payed, over-hyped, semi-skilled footballers, towards their own accolade and not one iota beneficial to the community overall. Why don’t we parade the doctors, nurses, firemen and women, ambulance men and women, police men and women, coastguard men and women…….their contribution to society and the community is far greater than any athlete or footballer by far…………then again, we are brainwashed into believing, or some people are, that they are idols and should be praised with the highest of honours for their selfish achievements.

  • Kathryn Macdonald

    • September 11th, 2012 20:58

    As a mum of four, hoping to move to Shetland soon, I am very concerned about the possibility of school closures. I cannot imagine sending my lads off to school at 7, seeing them back after 5. A teenagers body clock will not function with 4hrs on a bus and at this early hour – added to which one of mine gets dreadfully travel sick. My boys are bright and able but I cannot foresee them maintaining their grade standards with such a routine – and that’d be on days when weather allows them to get to school! At the moment the two teenagers participate in many extra-curricular activities, but that would also be impossible. That would deny them the opportunity to fulfil their potential, curtail their enjoyment of hobbies, disadvantage them in college/job applications, etc. There would be a cultural vacuum in the youth demograph – no time or energy for fiddles, rugby, etc. I want to come to Shetland to raise my children in the healthy wide open spaces, not to spend their school years on a bus. I could home school them, but they would miss out on the social side of attending school. This proposal would have far reaching consequences, for the kids now and therefore the adults to come, and the community as it is now and what it becomes. There are some things in life that you just can’t and shouldn’t penny pinch on

  • John Tulloch

    • September 12th, 2012 8:58

    David Spence,

    I hear what you are saying however if you’ll forgive me, in my opinion, it’s something of a “flat earth” perspective.

    Apart from the fact they are funded in different ways, someone else has already made the point that the schools are major customers of the leisure centres and closing the schools would put the centres in difficulty – a law of diminishing returns.

    On the other hand, if you close the leisure centres and retain the schools neither the schools nor the communities will have the use of them.

    Neither is a recipe for maintaining the vibrant country communities Shetland currently enjoys.

    Britain holding the Olympic Games has nothing to do with the leisure centres which actually achieve the opposite – they bring high quality sporting facilities to everyone resulting in the outstanding achievements by local people we read of every week.

    And if you don’t like the athletes as role models for our kids, whom would you prefer? Politicians? Celebrities?


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