In reading this week’s Sounding off by SIC political leader Gary Robinson (The Shetland Times, 8th November) I couldn’t help feeling disappointed by the weakness of his arguments in favour of the proposed re-organisation of Shetland education. I expected better, much better.
I’ll spare readers the full litany however the main weaknesses include:
First, I couldn’t believe he trotted out the hackneyed old canard that because educating Shetland kids costs twice the Scottish average, we must cut our costs, in this case, by closing schools.
There is no valid comparison possible between Shetland schools’ costs and the Scottish average because the latter is heavily influenced by the large population centres in the Central Belt and along the East Coast from Edinburgh to The Cromarty Firth.
Furthermore, it’s no good talking about Orkney and the Western Isles because they have, either, fewer islands or many islands interconnected by short road causeways making daily travel, for the most part, reasonable.
Second, Mr Robinson thinks it is a concern that Shetland is “bumping along just above average” where highers and advanced highers are concerned. Am I missing something here, or are we actually proposing moving all our secondary kids to where we are getting poorer results?
Third, closing these schools and dragging kids unnecessarily away from home will not only disrupt their normal family life and cause undue hardship on the travelling kids, it will inflict irreparable long-term damage on their currently thriving communities. It must not be permitted to happen.