Parent council voices ‘strong opposition’ to ‘unfair’ school mothballing plans

Parents have voiced “strong opposition” to the proposed mothballing of a West Side primary school.

Members of the Skeld Parent Council have written urging the SIC to reconsider its proposals ahead of the decision later this month.

They claim it is “unfair and premature”.

Skeld and Cullivoe primary schools were both identified as candidates for mothballing due to their low pupil rolls.

But while Cullivoe was saved after its parent council highlighted figures showing there were more pupils than the SIC had used to form its decision – Skeld remains at risk.

Members of the education and families committee will determine its fate later this month. 

The parent council has urged members to save their school, highlighting the strong opposition shown at a recent public meeting.

A petition calling for the mothballing to be halted has also gathered almost 500 signatures.

The parent council said it was “extremely concerning” that the views of the wider community had not been considered.

It has also criticised the lack of consideration for alternatives to mothballing – such as repurposing it for community programs, adult education, or renting out rooms.

The parent council suggested the SIC should try to encourage more families living in the area to send their pupils to the school.

And with plans for new developments in the area – such as the Spirt of Shetland distillery and hotel – the parent council said there could soon be more families in the area.

“It would be prudent to factor in these impending changes before making a decision that could have long-term implications for the community’s educational infrastructure,” its letter said.

“These developments are likely to bring about demographic and economic changes that could significantly increase the need for a local school.”

Further concerns have been raised about the process for un-mothballing a school.

At a recent parent council meeting, members were worried to learn that the policy was being enforced despite a need for further testing.

And with members of the SIC’s education and families committee calling for a “lessons learned” exercise to be carried out, the parent council said it was “deeply concerning” that their school may become a victim of a process that is already acknowledged as flawed.

“To allow the school to be mothballed under these circumstances seems both unfair and premature,” the letter continued.

“We respectfully urge you to reconsider the mothballing of Skeld school and to conduct a thorough review of the mothballing and un-mothballing processes before making a decision that could irreversibly impact our children’s education and our communities future.”


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