Scottish Ministers have decided not to “call in” the SIC decision to close Olnafirth Primary, thereby severing any chance of a lifeline for the school at Voe.
This means that Olnafirth will shut at the end of the school year on 4th July, following last month’s council closure decision. Pupils will continue their education at Brae High School Primary Department from 20 August 2014.
The children’s services department received a letter outlining the government’s decision today.
Olnafirth only has one class of eight pupils and is said to be operating at 10 per cent capacity. After summer, three were due to go to secondary, which would have left only five pupils at the school.
A transition group will now be set up, led by the “quality improvement officer” for Olnafirth primary, and including relevant school staff from both schools. The role of this group will be to plan the effective transition of pupils. It will ensure pupils are supported in getting used to the new school environment at Brae.
The SIC’s education and families committee chairwoman Vaila Wishart said: “I know that staff, parents and pupils of Olnafirth Primary School will be very disappointed but this decision will end any further uncertainty about the future of the school.”
Head of children’s services Helen Budge last month pledged that six part-time and ancillary staff would be relocated “within the department” wherever possible, although they might be offered jobs in social care. Head teacher Pat Brown is likely to move full-time to Mossbank, along with at least some of the Olnafirth pupils.
More in this week’s Shetland Times.