As an ex-Uyeasound Primary School pupil’s parent, I know how debilitating it is to protest these proposed closures.
The fact that the consultation process for some schools will not occur until 2014 is causing tremendous stress and uncertainty throughout the rural areas. The Uyeasound school was closed because there was an “educational benefit” – Baltasound school had access to an outdoor sports ground.
Now the suggestion is to shut Baltasound secondary with very damaging effects on the sports ground across the road. It was also argued that closing Uyeasound would reduce the number of transitions – now they propose an additional transition: to Mid Yell.
Educationally, these proposals make no sense. As the price of oil rises, transporting children long distances to school forever more is crazy. Maybe there are small, immediate, short-term financial savings if small schools are closed, but the damage to the rural community – and ultimately Shetland as a whole – is incalculable.