Deflated over schools (Stuart Hannay)
I am grateful to the councillors who have supported keeping rural schools open and did feel an initial sense of relief when the consultation on Mid Yell and Whalsay was stopped.
I believe that the process had followed its full course and that sufficient information had been obtained by the relevant departments to realise that the educational and financial benefits of the blueprint could not be justified.
I expected that we would then enter the five-year moratorium period identified in the legislation – this may seem like an eternity to some but will come around soon enough.
I was therefore extremely deflated to hear within hours that the process could be revisited within two years – or sooner, if necessary.
The attempt to end the legal process of consultation only to be able to re-launch it almost immediately appears to me to be an extremely cynical one.
I firmly believe that those councillors who voted for the end to the consultation in this way did so in good faith and were badly advised if they had been told that a school closure programme could be relaunched immediately.