Departing head teacher says Fair Isle is ‘a beautiful place’

The retiring head teacher of Fair Isle Primary School says the island is a great place to live and work.

Ruth Stout has worked at the school since 1992, serving as its head teacher for many of those years.

The contrast with her earlier working life could hardly be more stark – Mrs Stout’s previous job was teaching in a school in London.

Now, after a career spanning 35 years, she has decided the time is right to step aside.

During her time in Fair Isle she has met her husband Iain. Their daughter, now grown up, has recently returned to the island.

She has spoken as Shetland Islands Council advertised a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to take on the job in the tiny island, famed for its wildlife, scenery and knitwear.

“What I love about teaching here is that you are teaching all the age groups in one class,” she said.

“The younger ones get exposed to stuff they wouldn’t normally be getting in a P1 or P2 class. Multi-age teaching is just great.

The working environment has changed over the years, with the school now providing early learning and childcare.

“We have three lovely, bright classrooms we work in, and there are fantastic support staff working here.”

Mrs Stout said her biggest job was preparing the children for the big day when they depart Fair Isle and go to the Anderson High school in Lerwick.

She said Fair Isle was “a brilliant place to live and work” – but added potential applicants should think carefully about the practicalities of living in Fair Isle.

“They need to think of the remoteness of the island, as well as the job.

But she added: “It’s a beautiful place – the close-knit community will always support people.


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