Plot thickens in the tale of Shetland school closures

2nd August 2013 at 01:00

There was another twist in the Shetland Islands school closure saga this week when it came to light that the council plans to save one of the junior secondaries it had earmarked for closure.

However, the local authority is also planning to cut back on provision at its remaining junior secondary schools, making them S1 to S3 schools, as opposed to S1 to S4.

Shetland Islands Council's latest bid to restructure schooling in light of falling rolls and shrinking budgets began in 2007, but the process has been plagued by delays - the most recent being the moratorium on rural schools closures imposed while the Commission on Rural Education carried out its work.

The commission published its report in April and within hours Shetland Council announced its aim to carry forward plans made in the previous September, when it had agreed to close four junior high school secondary departments - Whalsay, Aith, Skerries and Sandwick - and five primary schools.

But the council has now revised its plans. Whalsay is to remain open but, along with the two other junior secondaries that the council plans to retain - Baltasound and Mid Yell - it will provide education only up to S3, as opposed to S4.

This, the council says, will ensure that all pupils receive an uninterrupted senior phase, from S4 to S6.

In Blueprint for Education, the authority states: "Ideally, transitions should be avoided in secondary education. If, however, a transition is unavoidable, it should take place before the senior phase commences so that the senior phase can be planned as a three-year experience from S4 to S6, rather than planning each year separately."

The new report will be presented at the Education and Families Committee on 11 September and to the subsequent meeting of Shetland Islands Council.

Director of children's services Helen Budge said: "This timescale will allow the comments of teachers and others to be taken into account prior to the report being presented."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now