Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Schools to be closed

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have won a court battle against the Scottish Government to close four rural schools, two primaries (Seilebost and Carloway) and the secondary sections of the schools at Lionel (Ness) and Shawbost (West Side). Although the Council appears to be happy, I don’t think the folks in the affected areas are happy.

I know for a fact that particularly the people of Carloway and Seilebost (and environs) fought very hard to keep their wee schools open. A school is very much a focal point of the community, and particularly the Seilebost school was seen as a way to reverse the fortunes of the community of West Harris.They will now receive their education in Tarbert, 10 miles away.

Whilst acknowledging the financial constraints, and the costs involved in maintaining aging school buildings, I do question whether the economics of closing the schools tally with the demographics of losing a school. Aren’t we heading for further depopulation of rural Harris and Lewis, with more homes turning into self-catering houses, standing empty in winter?

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