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

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rural school closures

"It isn't about money" says both the Councils and the Minister.


It is precisely about money, whether they like to admit it or not.

The Comhairle has committed the cash they expect to save to other projects.  The Minister hasn't got the cash to bung Councils a further subsidy.

The proposed resolution from the Minister - "find the savings elsewhere".  To which the Councils pose the simple question - "Where?"

With COSLA backing the Councils, or more accurately, the Councils united on the issue, we have a Mexican stand-off, with the added twist that the Minister has already admitted the current legislation is flawed and he may not be able to stop closures.

I suspect that the Council will any legal action, but that the Minister will then string out taking decisions until new legislation is in place; leading to a last minute compromise of 'cash for schools'.

And for added spice, our local MSP has already announced that he is going to have nothing to do with the decisions, leaving schools campaigners out on their own.

The islands are littered with empty schools; perhaps if we found a way to fill them with pupils, we wouldn't need to have this debate.


domhnall beag an t-suicear said...

This is the precise reason why the council are in the brown stuff. They undertook, as required, a consultation process but then totally ignored its contents, having already pre judged the findings. They then squealed when the flaws in their process were picked off by the parents.
It wasn't fair, they had done the minimum required or so they thought. The fact that this is the second time they had tried to close the remote rural schools and the second time they had failed just shows what a bunch of fag ends we have in the white house - not only our elected members but also their toothless and clueless advisors.
Everything was to be sacrificed for the sake of the glorious 'sgoiltean ura'.
Including the health and well being of our kids - this is what folk have lost sight of - education isn't about pounds shillings and pence - it's about flesh and blood and the future of our rural communities.
If you don't want us to be here - tell us - build us some shanty town on Stornoways edge so that we won't be a nuisance any more and fill the land of our forefathers with hundreds of giant wind turbines so that the generations of the future can talk about how farsighted messers Campbell and Macdonald were.

Anonymous said...

..but of course this has all come about because of a legacy of inactivity from previous councillors who had their eye off the ball and were too scared to make a decision, despite the obvious falling school roles which everyone else was worried about.

Anonymous said...

So, what roles do our schools have? Oh, 6:05pm you mean the school roll - dash it, these homonyms are just so difficult to grasp!

An Ode to the Spelling Chequer

Prays the Lord for the spelling chequer
That came with our pea sea!
Mecca mistake and it puts you rite
Its so easy to ewes, you sea.

I never used to no, was it e before eye?
(Four sometimes its eye before e.)
But now I've discovered the quay to success
It's as simple as won, too, free!

Sew watt if you lose a letter or two,
The whirled won't come two an end!
Can't you sea? It's as plane as the knows on yore face
S. Chequer's my very best friend

I've always had trubble with letters that double
"Is it one or to S's?" I'd wine
But now, as I've tolled you this chequer is grate
And its hi thyme you got won, like mine.

Dr Evadne said...

Regardless of any shpelling mishtakes, Domhnall has nailed it with his comment.

As an addition, why has our MSP washed his hands of the situation especially as he is now the minister for 'Learning & Skills', whatever that might be?

Anonymous said...

The islands are littered with empty schools - why?

Because most of the regeneration plans and affordable housing is focused on Stornoway and the surrounding areas - in particlar Loch a Tuath - look at the Draft Outer Hebrides Housing Land Audit for evidence of this. Little is done to promote rural communities.

The council commissioned a migration study to investigate why the Western Isles have seen the biggest population decline proportionally of any Scottish Local Authority Area over recent years - but the council have done little to follow-up the findings of this study apart from manipulating the results to meet their own agendas such as in the consultations to close rural schools.

Anonymous said...

Even Lord Leverhulme wasn't as incompetent, or as arrogant...

Anonymous said...

Why should people who have no call on the school system pay way over the odds to allow daftly inefficient rural schools to continue? Y'all may enjoy having 6 kids taught by one teacher but when it comes to mending roads and helping old people as an alternative?

Anonymous said...

3.36 pm - your response is ridiculous beyond belief - that is like saying why should we in employment (and yes I am in employment)finance the benefit system - when many in the benefit system are in genuine need and unable to work.

We, in rural communities, pay the same tax as the rest of the population and have every right to fight to ensure that our children are taught under the best possible conditions and to the best standard - and leaving home at 7.15am (which is earlier than many people in jobs leave home) is not in their best interest.

And we in rural communities have to endure the worst road conditions and the same social care system as the rest. It is not the fault of rural schools that these problems are so manifest - it is mis-management and mis-management on a grand scale by an ineffective council.

Anonymous said...


Wake up and smell the coffee.

These are poor islands, who have lived a lavish lifestyle for the last 20 years with thanks to the massive subsidies from central government.

The money has now run out.

Anonymous said...

2.19 Don't know who you are but at last someone with the same sentiments as myself.

Anonymous said...

6.00 As a family of the 3 hour school commute, I think it is impossible to escape the observation that this could be avoided if transport was organised efficiently. If the council offered us a minibus which got the journey down to under an hour, we would be delighted.

Anonymous said...

2.19 and 10.20

Gross over-simplification. I don't think most people here have 'lavish lifestyles' - obviously some benefits, but also many difficulties.

There has been sloppy management of public funds of course (hardly unique to our council), but it's the most basic principle of a fair and sustainable society, since Victorian times, and to most folk a source of pride, that we should all aim for equivalent standards of living across all corners of our country.

Even if you think the depopulation of the islands is neither here nor there, having a double standard in Scotland, whereby the cities can justify their public spending and the backwoods can just lump it, or look to Trump et al to provide some kind of solution - even it that's all right with you, it's a recipe for destabilisation across the whole of the country, and if you think it wouldn't affect the prosperity of the central belt too, you're wrong.

But it does behoove the council to make better use of public money than it does.