Let’s learn from Orkney (Jeemie Smith)
Let’s not beat about the bush. With education spending forming the major part of Shetland Islands Council spending, it is well accepted that there will have to be cutbacks in this area.
However, other councils in very similar conditions spend a heck of a lot less than we do here.
Orkney has much the same set-up as us. They have two high schools (so do we), four junior high schools (we have five), and they have 17 primaries compared with our 24 (although it’s not clear if that takes in the recent closures – websites are never up to date).
We hear continuously from the SIC officials that “We are different in Shetland”. Well yes we are, but we’re not that much different.
I’m down in Orkney fairly often and, so far, I haven’t noticed that the young folk there are any more stupid than the young ones here.
Their new schools are a lot cheaper than our planned one, and their spend per pupil is a lot less than ours.
Can we not just swallow our pride and go and learn from them? It might keep one or more of our junior highs open.
This does not apply to only education. Other councils do things as good as we do, for a lot less money.
Let us not re-invent the wheel. Let us check other folk’s wheels, and if we find a better one, copy it. None of them are patented.
There will be opposition, but just remember: the officials work for the councillors, not the other way around.