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The truths they don't want you to read....

Friday, February 13, 2009

School closures - will this ever end? (again!)

I have absolutely no doubt that the local campaigners are delighted that the schools in Lionel, Shawbost, Daliburgh and Paible are to be kept open. No-one wants their local school closed, whatever the bigger picture is.


Read the Ministerial announcement carefully - the refusal was on the grounds that the paperwork wasn't up to scratch.

So the whole process will start again, and hopefully the Comhairle will do it exactly as proscribed by Ministers: note I didn't say "right".

Which takes us back to the bigger picture.

Do we want to have new schools? Because that means closures to make sure that there are enough pupils in the schools to justify the schools being built and meet the financial modelling exercises.

Or do we want substandard schools which are subject to running repairs and constant patching, and which will deliver substandard education?

There are cost implications, of course, whatever choice is made. Small classes sizes might be better educationally, but tiny class sizes are hugely expensive and do not give the children the opportunities to socialise with a wider group of friends.

A simple plea, repeated: can the Councillors please come to a decision and stick to it?


Anonymous said...

I think again this shows how incompetent the council are. How much money, time, blood pressure has been spent on this?

The transposition of Government policy at local level is abizmal and each time we end up in a mess. Clearly they cocked up windfarms (I am agnostic on that) and now they have screwed up the schools. Government policy is there to follow, not to pick and choose what you like from it.

Those responsible for these poor transpositions should do the honourable thing and resign immediately.

Heads should roll

Anonymous said...

Abizmal is right. Apart from the schools issue, it's a further indication that this council doesn't see itself as beholden to any rules of law, commonsense, decency, accountability, good practice or, I wouldn't be surprised, physics, time and space. Next time you walk into the white house you might find it's 1959.... oh wait...

Anonymous said...

nepatism and religion are the root causes of all their nonsense. Most dont even believe in evolution.

Anonymous said...

what a shambles only our comhairle can get it wrong just check out the bus contract to see what i mean its worse than back stabing

Anonymous said...

Angus will you please read all of the Ministerial announcement and not be selective in what you use.

It also states in the cases of Shawbost and Lionel that an inadequate consultation was carried out. I suspect that if the Education Secretary was to look at the consultations carried out for Bayble, Sgoil nan Loch and Back she would have come to the same conclusion.

It also states that the Comhairle, in a number of respects, did not accord with guidance set out in October 2007 on how to conduct and handle school closures and consultations. I seem to remmember these particular documents being quoted in both verbal and written submissions during the process. Unfortunately for the Education Committee they chose to ignore it or as seems to be the case thought they knew better.
Three people in particular, as a result of this, should seriouly
consider doing the honourable thing and resign with immediate effect, and they are
Morag Munro
Catriona Stewart
Angus Campbell.
Although I doubt that they even in any way consider themselves to be at fault, and will not accept being told so.

Anonymous said...

Wait until Thursday when they condem the village of Gravir to an Interconnector and Converter Station knowing it could go into Arnish. They are on the side of cheap cash and developers not the communities of the Western isles.

Anonymous said...

so "nepatism" and religion are the root causes are they?
1) where's your proof that they are the root causes?
2) where's your proof that they even exist as great entities out there to swallow everything up?

Anonymous said...

11:28 AM

and remember - they have no honour

they are sewer rats

Anonymous said...

The socialisation argument drives me insane. If a lack of numbers is so detrimental, why don't we shut the whole of the Western Isles, board the place up and ship the population to the mainland?

I mean, relatively speaking there aren't that many people on the islands so opportunities for socialising are more limited than on the mainland so hey, let's just close the whole place down and relocate. We'll save money that way too - we can close up all the shops and GPs and other services on the island and instead islanders can just be another number in another queue on the mainland.

I grew up attending small schools and for part of my school life we were so isolated I was the only student. I do not consider this experience to have been detrimental on my learning or my social ability - in fact I strongly believe this schooling is the reason I am the only one of my 4 siblings to have gone on to academic success.

I hope to be able to offer my daughter the same opportunity: of smaller schools where teachers know who she is, where the school is the hub of the community - not a far off place up the road.

I can appreciate the economic dilemma and the fact that buildings/facilities may be in need of repair but as a teacher, and a parent I put more value on a school where my child knows everyone and where teachers and others know her than one that may have sparkly new equipment and covered walkways yet where she is just another face in a thousand (or more).

I am not against revising the school situation or on developing a coherent plan for schooling in the Western Isles but I do get frustrated when people slam small schools and belittle the education they provide. I worked at the largest school in the islands and experienced first hand many of the problems that can come with schools of this size. I thought in the S1/S2 secondaries that the islands were taking a unique, flexible and modern approach to education.

And as for CfE...take a look at your textbooks or go onto TES and see what teachers are saying about it - these curriculum fads are just that - 'fads' - they tend to come and go. It would be a tragedy to dismantle local provision of S1/S2 to cater for a program that may not be here in another decade (or less).

Anonymous said...

11:33 AM

what happens if the Pairc/Eiskein windfarms get refused? Where for the station then? Still in Gravir. I think not.

I believe we are in a public inquiry situation as it is for Pairc already as most of the data re landscape cumulatively with other developments is missing. As such this gives SNH no option but to object, and we have an automatic public inquiry.

Once again a bloody mess feed on by some poor politicians who think they know what their constituents want.