School's no place for a Shetland sweater

31st October 1997 at 00:00
The standards debate has not paid proper attention to knitting. And Bill Smith should know. As Shetland's chairman of education since the mid-seventies, he knows his ganseys.

Cuts being considered by Shetland include a threat to instruction in the traditional island skills of handknitting. Dropping school lessons and laying off 14 instructors would save Pounds 63,000. Smith has no regrets: "Handknitting is simply something we don't need to do."

If it was of commercial importance, he told fellow councillors, the council's development department should pick up the tab, and if it was of aesthetic importance, a body like the Shetland Arts Trust should be responsible.

Clearly needled, he denied having a phobia but Shetland knitting was not what it had been. Today it was "all sorts of logos and fancy stuff". So back to the basics? It will take a month to find out since the councillors won't drop a stitch until their next meeting.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today