21st October 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Bressay primary: SIC to launch consultation over closure

The council’s education department is preparing to carry out statutory consultation on the possible closure of Bressay Primary School following the dramatic fall in pupil numbers.

Around 30 people were given the news at a public meeting in Bressay Public Hall last night.

The meeting was called after it emerged only six children across the primary school age-range are expected to attend classes in the isle from August.

That represents only 40 per cent of the children in the isle who could attend the school. The majority of youngsters are taken to either of the primary schools in Lerwick.

However last night it emerged an additional two families anticipate taking their children out of Bressay to give them a chance to learn among a wider group of peers.

It means potentially only two youngsters will remain in the Bressay school after the summer term. So far no parents have opted to send their younger children to the nursery next year.

Ten years ago up to 40 children attended the school.

Director of children’s services, Helen Budge, told concerned audience members: “We find ourselves in a position of saying we’re getting to the stage where we feel it’s a better educational experience for those young folk that are left in Bressay to come to another school.”

The news means a report will go to the SIC’s education and families committee in September.

Ideas drawn from last night’s meeting will also be put forward to the Bressay Community Council.

Education officials may also make an approach to parent councils to ascertain why children are not sent to Bressay.

An analysis of placing requests made by parents will also be carried out.

Should councillors give consultation approval, the school could close at the end of next year’s summer term.

But the threatened closure was regarded by many as merely a symptom of the wider problems Bressay is facing.

Some highlighted the recent cuts to the ferry service and a dearth in young families coming to the isles as key reasons behind the possible closure.

“Ferries are a fundamental reason why young people have left Bressay,” said one audience member.

Grave concerns were raised that Bressay had been effectively dismissed as a “suburb” of Lerwick. There was strong feeling it was unfair to children as young as five on the ferry to be educated in the town.

• For full story, see this week’s Shetland Times.

Tags:

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

View other stories by »

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.