A Shetland action group is launching a “distress signal” about junior high schools today through its St Kilda mail boats initiative.
Communities United for Rural Education (CURE) says it has come together to fight against the council’s “raid on rural education”.
The group is launching mail boats at various locations across the isles at 11am.
In the past, St Kilda mail boats were used as a way for islanders to send information – letters were enclosed in a waterproof container and attached to a buoyant object.
Each of the six boats contains messages from individuals and a plea to the Scottish government to “recognise the seriousness of the situation”.
The group says it has decided to send the messages because of the council’s proposal to stop secondary education provision at the end of S2 in five of their junior highs, with total closure of the Skerries secondary department.
The boats will also have “Our Schools Our Future” flags attached.
CURE spokesman Gordon Thomson said: “Today’s public launch of St Kilda mail boats will, we hope, draw attention to our communities’ united call for action to avert further attacks on rural Shetland.”
Baltasound Parent Council chairwoman Catriona Waddington said: “As a collective group of rural communities we are fully aware of the challenging economic times and as such have offered an alternative to the council in its ongoing plan to save money in the education budget.”
Mid Yell Junior High School Pupil Council chairman Brodie Lawson added: “On behalf of the pupils at Mid Yell, I would ask all Shetland Islands Councillors to reject the proposals to end Secondary 3 and 4 education in our islands.
“It might not seem like a big deal to some people but for us to leave our homes, our families and our communities at 13 or 14 years of age is too high a price to pay.”
The group is asking those who find the boats to promote their cause in their local community – by contacting the local press and their local MSP.
The locations are as follows: Westsandwick beach in Yell; Belmont ferry terminal in Unst, Symbister pier in Whalsay; Bruray pier in Skerries; Quendale beach in the South Mainland; Sandness in the West Mainland.