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Shetland schools and education system


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Where do you want the new AHS?  

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  1. 1. Where do you want the new AHS?

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^^^^^ ...a few posts above, "shetlander" commented that it may be an idea to close scalloway school, and bus all da bairns fae scalloway to lerwick.

I would like to point out that scalloway is a good school with a lot of pupils, great teachers, and quite a high score on exam results.

Scalloway has a lot of country bairns who travel from 3 or 4 different areas to the school each morning.

 

many parents choose scalloway over lerwick, as it is a "rural high school, as opposed to a "town" school.

and ...this may be quite controversial of me to say this, but "town" bairns are more "wordly" than many ...though not all of the "rural" bairns.

innocence is a marvellous thing, which most parents would like their bairns to have for as long as is possible.

 

anybody else agree?

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Stoichkov

I think much of the present building was thrown up very quickly in the 70s with the oil industry.

Why do they do that?

Christ! were going backwards, in the old days things were built to last, I fecking hate this throw away mentality. :?

 

It was a pre-fab patch up, speed was of the essence, secondaries I & II were stuck in the Central, with a condenmed/unusable/boarded off top floor, and the rest of the building in need of extensive refurbishment. Numerous higher year technical/navigation classes had to walk from the AHS to the Central to take those classes and back again, losing the most if not all of a period's teaching in the process.

 

The quickest fix had to be the one to go with, after all, oil was only going to last for "20 years", Sullom would close "by the end of the century at the latest". This was the forecast necessary life expectancy of A, B, & C blocks, they've done well I think, 30 years later/50% over planned for life, they're still there, and still functional, probably.... :?

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I agree Kitty Bee.

 

The proposed new AHS is far bigger than it needs to be. It is designed to accommodate the Scalloway secondary bairns as well as the Lerwick ones, and so force the closure of the excellent Scalloway secondary school. :( This is the tail wagging the dog. Parents in the area (including me) are very clear that they want to keep Scalloway open. There is a lot of evidence of the benefit of smaller secondary schools, and the ethos in the Scalloway school is fantastic. Let the parents and elected council decide whether to keep Scalloway open, and THEN specify the size the new AHS needs to be. If the new AHS is 3/4 the size, they will get a higher quality building for the same price. :D

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Not having any children in secondary school I am not able to judge on the quality of the education, but from a purely financial point of view centralising secondary education into fewer schools would be an obvious thing to look at.

 

If that is not seen as acceptable, what other measures for reducing the education budget (a lot) should be looked at? And would that actually have a bigger impact on children's education?

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I agree Kitty Bee.

 

The proposed new AHS is far bigger than it needs to be. It is designed to accommodate the Scalloway secondary bairns as well as the Lerwick ones, and so force the closure of the excellent Scalloway secondary school. :( This is the tail wagging the dog. Parents in the area (including me) are very clear that they want to keep Scalloway open. There is a lot of evidence of the benefit of smaller secondary schools, and the ethos in the Scalloway school is fantastic. Let the parents and elected council decide whether to keep Scalloway open, and THEN specify the size the new AHS needs to be. If the new AHS is 3/4 the size, they will get a higher quality building for the same price. :D

 

I have no reason to disagree with either of you on the quality of secondary education provided at Scalloway - nor could I disagree with the parents of primary pupils at Uyeasound, Cullivoe, Burravoe, North Roe or Sandness that those threatened schools provide excellent education for the bairns in those areas. I'm not targetting Scalloway for any reason other than that its proximity to Lerwick (and the opportunity of providing a new, bigger AHS) should make it a candidate for possible closure.

 

My point is that recognition has to be given to the extremely high costs of providing education in Shetland compared to rural areas elsewhere and at some point, the need to make cuts has to take precedence over the quality of education provided by an individual school - a point we can probably agree to disagree on.

 

Lets not forget that the AHS recently received a glowing report from the HMIE on the quality of its education provision.

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Well the closure of scalloway has been attempted before, and it didnt work... thankfully :)

I am a mum of three bairns at scalloway, so I have an obvious biased opinion on another threatened closure, which i freely admit to.

 

I would love to know what the poster - "shetlander"'s reasons for their opinions are .....

I wonder where they work? hmm..... :lol:

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I see more point in smaller primary schools than small secondaries. It seems to be a constant discussion on the best way for the bairn to get to study what she wants, as apposed to the very limited list in shetland, even more limited in Eid. At the moment that looks like spending 14k+ a year so she can do a qualification that's worth the paper it's written on. But a few years yet, maybe state education will improve (I'm not holding my breath).

 

The general observation (worldwide) is children do better in smaller schools until around the age of 14. A number of educational systems reflect this. I was under the impression that rural areas else where in Scotland worked on this model and did what used to be the norm here and kept children in junior high till S2. Then moved to the larger high school for the exam years. Therefore enabling the children then to have choice in subjects when at an age when more capable of handling the social aspects.

 

Smaller Primaries means children are less likely to be "missed", and are less likely to be purpetrators of "anti-social behaviour". Boys especially need extra attention around 11/12years as this is when they are most likely to start to opt out of formal education.

 

Money spent on education actually saves money in other areas. Better standards of education mean lower rates of unemployment, crime and ill health. Children and young people should not be looked as a drain on tax payers and personally I'd gladly see all the money spent on the mareel spent on education, where it would actually have a greater impact on our economy than folk getting pissed listening to music.

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Money spent on education actually saves money in other areas. Better standards of education mean lower rates of unemployment, crime and ill health. Children and young people should not be looked as a drain on tax payers

Absolutely. I'm glad someone else sees it this way. Closing schools to save a few quid is a very short-sighted attitude which will cost us dearer in the long-run. We should be giving our children the very best education that we can, not viewing small schools as an unnecessary drain.

 

Penny-wise and pound foolish, as they say.

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I'd agree that education should be a priority, but it's not a zero-sum game. If we spend more on education then there is less to spend on other areas, or more money taken from reserves.

 

When we spend so much more per child than any other area it's reasonable to look for % cuts to be made roughly equally across the education budget as well as the other SIC budgets. How much those cuts end up being, and what the balance is between closures and reduced budgets is a difficult question, but cheers at keeping school open might be short lived if the result is a 20% cut in it's budget as a result.

 

In terms of cutting admin staff wages/jobs, that should be looked at too, but with 90 odd staff of all kinds of descriptions there, you could sack the entire department and likely still only save £2.5m in wages, while the cuts needed to the £35m (ish?) education budget would need to be more like 3 times that to get us anywhere on the "cost per pupil" measure.

 

It's not going to be pretty whichever way it goes.

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I don't think rural secondary schools are so vital; primary schools are the more sensitive issue to me. By the time a pupil reaches secondary school age they are less affected by travelling, and are more independent and benefit from learning amongst a broader mix of children. I wouldn't suggest opening a secondary school in Sandness any more than I would suggest keeping one open in Skerries; but I do think primary school is a different matter entirely.

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Well the closure of scalloway has been attempted before, and it didnt work... thankfully :)

I am a mum of three bairns at scalloway, so I have an obvious biased opinion on another threatened closure, which i freely admit to.

 

I would love to know what the poster - "shetlander"'s reasons for their opinions are .....

I wonder where they work? hmm..... :lol:

 

The reasons for my opinions are quite simple - I see school closures as being the only way of making the kind of money savings that are necessary. Whether it will allay your suspicions or not, I can assure you that I neither work for the Education Department or the SIC, should that be what you are implying.

 

Absolutely, look first and foremost at making cuts at the top and behind the scenes - and if you or anyone else can prove that sufficient and reasonable savings can be made that way with no impact on service delivery then I'll join in agreeing that no school should be considered for closure.

 

Having been educated in one myself, I agree entirely about the merits of small schools but as I've said before, there has to come a point (now) where the per pupil cost of running them has to be brought into question. Lets not forget that if any schools were to be closed, their respective pupils would be transferred to others which also offer education provision of an extremely high standard and with higher teacher to pupil ratios than almost anywhere else in the country. Many of them are 'small' in nature.

 

School rolls in Shetland are forecast to fall fairly rapidly in the not too distant future and for that reason alone, it seems sensible to look at making savings in that area. Choose not to and the problem doesn't simply go away - but gets loaded on users of other Council services who will argue they have similarly reasonable grounds for those to be left alone too.

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When talking to friends and family from all over Scotland and England they all seem to be amazed by the fact that class sizes here are so much lower than on the mainland and say that they would love to be able to have that situation for their kids so they can all get the attention and education that they need.

 

They were also surprised that kids go to the school that is nearest to them, no questions asked, instead of the competition like systems down south. All of the people I spoke to about this said this was a much more effective way to manage things and if they had the choice they would love for this to be the case down there as well.

 

One other point they made was that it doesn't seem to matter which school in Shetland you look at they all have great records of a achievement when it comes to the people who have been taught there, whether it be by them going on to college/university, further training or getting a job. They have also said that they themselves could have benifited from an education like this and would have loved to have had this opertuninty, stating that some of us do not know how lucky we are when it comes to this.

 

There have been many more positive comments which have been made to myself including comments from university lecturers saying how dedicated they find students from Shetland.

 

Surely comments like this is a testiment to the standard of education provided in the schools in Shetland and asks the question - why would we want to change something which is obviously working and arguebly a better system than on the Mainland?

 

On a personal note I was in a very small primary class, which meant that slacking off in class was not an option and this also meant that I worked hard in primary, which then continued into my secondary years. Once again in secondary I was in a realitavley small class and although standard grade options where perhaps not as extensive as in the mainland, I was able to study all of the classes which I wanted to do through liasing with teachers and ended up been able to do 9 standard grades instead of the normal 8, gaining credit passes in all, which I do not believe I would have gained in any other environment. Afterward I went on to the AHS for 5th & 6th year gaining the qualifications I required to go to university and now I am now due to graduate later this year and I put a lot of my success and progress down to the education I recieved whilst in Shetland.

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why would we want to change something which is obviously working and arguebly a better system than on the Mainland?

 

I don't think anybody wants to change it, changes are going to be forced on us because we cannot afford to spend as much money as we have been doing. The debate is (hopefully) about how to reduce costs with the minimum overall effect on children's education or other services.

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