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Following parents night in the Scalloway Secondary School earlier this week. I was struck at how enthusiastic the, relatively young, staff are and how successful they are at helping develop the pupils to deliver the best they were capable of.

My wife and I attend the AHS and received a first rate education, our eldest attend the AHS in 5th year and was successful with her courses, hopefully our youngest will go there for her 5th year too, so I have no bone to pick with the Anderson.

I do feel however that the SIC are willing to close this happy school and break up this team of dedicated, successful teachers due solely to the cowardice of our councillors and paid officials. Who by their own words are going for the least unpopular (Shetland wide) target to cut.

The council has singularly failed to justify this proposed closure on educational grounds, had they started from the beginning by saying it was the money and nothing else they might have hade a bit more credibility.

However last week at the public meetings, the list of financial gains presented in the consultation proposal were systematically picked apart. So there is apparently no tangible benefit beyond the council being able to be seen to being “doing something.â€

The whole document was reeking of poor presentation, lack of depth and an almost contempt for its audience, if this is the type of document our elected representatives accept on a regular basis, it is no wonder the quality of their decision making can be called into question so regularly.

There is a consultation process going on and that is stipulated in Law, the council appear to be is following it to the letter, not the spirit, this is a process meant to aid decision, A Councillor touring the Scalloway Secondary recently told the pupils the school was going to close, “done dealâ€,


some consultation!

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This, and previous councils have rightly been accused of prevarication - of wasting time and money on projects which should or should not have gone ahead. However we all know that a new AHS could have been built when it was needed twenty years or more ago, but was nt, when the oil money was rolling in (and seeping out!).


The council should now put any idea of closing Scalloway school to one side until the new AHS has been built - the existing AHS is already filled to capacity, and is unfit for purpose. Why would anyone think of adding to the problems there by sending even more pupils. It is just daft.

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... the existing AHS is already filled to capacity,...

Why do you and others keep repeating this myth when it is obviously not the case? As MuckeJoannie highlighted so clearly earlier, the number of pupils is currently nowhere near what it was when I attended, and well clear of capacity:

According to the document referred to above (page 15) the AHS is operating at 63% capacity. Moving the Scalloway pupils would use 73% capacity.
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Please find the myth as per the Councils consultation document for the new AHS page 8


It is recognised that the current Anderson High School does not fully meet modern educational and building standards in the following areas:

• disabled access is restricted in some areas of the site;

• the maintenance liability is high, due to the lifespan and condition of the current building;

• the school had to close unexpectedly, on a number of occasions, as a result of health and safety issues concerning plumbing and electrical problems. This causes disruption to the pupils’ learning as well as transport and childcare difficulties. It also causes problems for the Hall of Residence, where the heating and electrical systems are linked to the school, and pupils are being sent to another building with the same problems as the school;

• dining room space is limited (so the school will have difficulty in meeting new healthy eating legislation);

• the Hall of Residence is used to provide meals as lunchtime and their dining room space is limited and operating at near capacity;

• circulation and information gathering spaces (to acknowledge the local weather conditions) is insufficient and not suitable for pupil’s needs.


The council needs to make it's mind up, is the building at the Knab fit to house the additional Scalloway bairns or it's unfit to house the existing AHS pupils?? Which one is it??

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Please find the myth as per the Councils consultation document for the new AHS page 8

I've no issue with the "not fit for purpose" argument, but the capacity line keeps striking me as pure spin. When I was there the place had hundreds more pupils and it wasn't too full. To keep claiming it is at capacity just dilutes the other arguments being presented. Maybe pupils are just fatter nowadays ;-)

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The issue of capacity has not been brought up by parents it has been raised by pupils attending the AHS at the moment, stating they do not have sufficent social areas, one area has been transfomed into extra seating for canteen but at times students are still sitting with trays on thier laps. Also if they cut the number of teachers as it seems they intend to it will lead to increased class sizes.

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A reminder


Sunday 10th October is the deadline, send one response per person, multiple names on one return will only be counted as 1 response.


from the Save Scalloway School website



Send your response by Sunday 10 October 2010 to:

Blueprint for Education

Schools Service

Hayfield House

Hayfield Lane

Lerwick ZE1 0QD


Or email: blueprintforeducation@shetland.gov.uk

Not sure what to write?


You can still make a contribution by filling in our quick response form.

It is also available on this website and you can simply attach it to the above email:


Cick here to download Quick Response Form


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  • 1 month later...



Statement released today by Scalloway parent Council:

Scalloway School Parent Council has committed itself to continuing the fight against closure of the school's secondary department. Karen Eunson, Vice Chair of the Parent Council, said "It is particularly disappointing to see this proposal being put forward when the HMIe inspector's report which accompanies it reflects the strong opposition to closure shown by the whole community. The HMIe report raises serious questions about the proposal on which the community was consulted. It states that 'the council has yet to set out clearly the educational benefits of its proposal'. It also states that the council needs to 'further clarify its financial calculations' on the savings it asserts it will make, and says that 'the council should ensure that it has fully explored and explained the reasons for not pursuing ... alternative options' to closing the school."


The Parent Council will be examining the proposal in detail. "We have already identified a number of flaws in the report and we will meet again on Tuesday 23 November to agree a final response which we will put to councillors."


"We would urge all parents and pupils to phone, email or write to local councillors to ask for their support for the school at the council meeting on 7 December. We have been in touch with a number of councillors over the last few weeks and the response we have had has been quite encouraging. Many councillors have been impressed by the strength of support for the school and by the quality of our campaign."


Contact details for all councillors are on the website.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have just read a letter suggesting that the Scalloway area is to have an increase in population over 10% which would argue the case for keeping the secondary department open.


With absolutely no land allocated for housing in Scalloway due to availability, planning and a crazy zoning policy, I cannot see how this is possible.

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I have just read a letter suggesting that the Scalloway area is to have an increase in population over 10% which would argue the case for keeping the secondary department open.


With absolutely no land allocated for housing in Scalloway due to availability, planning and a crazy zoning policy, I cannot see how this is possible.


Don't forget there has been a large increase in housing provision already at East Voe over the last 2-3 years and that has increased the number of potential school children in the catchment area.


As MuckleJoannie says, there is a good prospect for the proposed Upper Scalloway to Utnabrake development to go ahead in some form in the coming years as the demand for housing is at a critical level.


While I am on, I would also point out to those who are reading about the number of children already opting for placing requests to AHS, this is a consequence of a) the number of commuter families in Tingwall/Whiteness area, including people with Lerwick connections/family, and B) those who have been unsettled by the prospect/uncertainty of yet another attempt to close Scalloway Secondary Dept.


If one or both parents work in the town (let's face it with the ever centralising tendancy of the SIC this is inevitable) it makes sense to them to ferry their children to AHS.

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