School rolls have declined significantly since 1975 across the Outer Hebrides. While the primary school roll in Lewis has continued to decline, this decline has slowed down since 2001. Overall, primary 1 rolls are currently lower than Primary 7 rolls, suggesting a continued decline in the foreseeable future.
Growing primary school rolls since 2002 in most parts of North and East Lewis, particularly Tolsta, Lochs, Pairc, Lionel and Laxdale;
Declining rolls in Sandwick and Aird (Point);
Declining rolls in all primary schools on the Westside of Lewis apart from Bragar;
Growing primary school rolls in Scalpay, and Seilebost and Leverburgh on Harris;
No primary schools on Harris with declining rolls since 2002;
Growing primary rolls in Paible (North Uist); Balivanich (Benbecula) and Eriskay;
and declining rolls in other parts of the Uists;
In Barra, a growing roll in Eoligarry and a declining roll in Craigston.
Between 1975 and 2005 the school rolls as a total have declined from 6,000 to 4,000 pupils – a drop of one third over that 30 year time period.
The Education Department reports that, despite some recent blips, overall school rolls on Harris and Barra are still falling much more quickly than elsewhere.
However there have been growing schools rolls in Ness in the north end of Lewis and around Laxdale. This is due to inward migration and a lot of houses being built in these areas. The school in Laxdale was refurbished five years ago but already it is becoming too small for the increasing school roll in that area.
<sarcasm>Of course, the tourism industry might solve this dilemma. But only if it is sex tourism.</sarcasm> But, not of this type.