23rd May 2019
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Henderson joins North Isles colleagues in calling for Skerries school to be saved

The third North Isles councillor has added his support to saving the Skerries secondary department from closure.

Robert Henderson says the projected £73,473-saving is too small given the valuable £4 million contribution folk in Skerries make to the wider Shetland economy through fishing and salmon.

Robert Henderson wants Skerries school to be saved.

Robert Henderson wants Skerries school to be saved.

He has called on fellow councillors to adapt a more “balanced” approach when they meet to discuss the school’s fate on Thursday.

“Skerries contributes a massive amount to the Shetland economy,” he said.

“Are we going to surrender the island for the sake of £73,000 when with fishing and salmon, I reckon, they contribute at least about £4 million to the Shetland economy?

“There needs to be a balancing act, but whether any other councillors take that view or not is something I can’t tell. It’ll all come out in the wash on Thursday.”

Last week fellow North Isles members Steven Coutts and Gary Cleaver each supported keeping the secondary department open.

Residents say they are unwilling to force their children to travel from Skerries to Lerwick for their education in the Anderson High School if the decision is made to close the island’s secondary department.

It is feared a decision to close by councillors could prompt an exodus of families from the small isle community.

But a consultation report before Thursday’s education and families committee recommends closure of Skerries secondary from next summer.

It recognises a high quality of education provided in Skerries, but insists: “Educating such small numbers of children together is not the best possible educational opportunity.”


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.

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  1. John Tulloch

    £4 million a year to the Shetland economy, time to think again on the school closure/depopuation!

    Looks like it’s “back to the drawing board”, Hayfield!

  2. Sheila Tulloch

    See thats what you would expect from ALL the elected representatives for the area!
    Wishful thinking on the Westside. (they know who they are)

  3. Johan Adamson

    This is all good. Skerries does not seem to cost much, but councillors please get together and direct the departments on where savings are to come from. There is no point telling Education take 10% off their budget and to save money and then changing your mind (although changing your mind is good). Please please please go back and tell Hayfield to stop what they are doing and direct all the SIC departments to find the money from elsewhere.

  4. John Tulloch

    And if every resident of Shetland was as productive as the Skerries folk Shetland’s £1 billion pa economy, including oil, would be about 20 percent larger than it is now.

    We should be helping the Skerries folk to build the place up, not tearing it down by cutting ferries and closing the school.


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