Our action group CURE (Communities United for Rural Education) is increasingly concerned at the additional workload implications of the recent and ongoing school consultations, upon staff and education management.
Shetland is on the brink of exciting economic progress on many fronts. There are vitally important initiatives in education critical to the future of all Shetland pupils.
We are seeing the implementation of the biggest change in assessment of attainment for a generation, namely Curriculum for Excellence, and Scottish government initiatives to increase Early Years provision. There are the new National and Higher courses with an increased teachers’ professional development programme.
Shetland Islands Council’s biggest capital project, the creation of the new Anderson High School, requires the highest level of educational professional input now at the point of planning.
With such a workload at a time when staffing and supply staff are being cut to the minimum, we just wonder when teachers and managers will find the time to deliver the initiatives above?
Staff morale and community support are crucial in delivering any new initiatives. This is not the time to be making such fundamental changes as creating S1/S2 schools or combining primary schools.
A major upheaval at this time is a high-risk strategy. This is the time to be consolidating and building on the strengths of community schools, giving the stability pupils, parents and staff so desperately need during this time of change.