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Smallest school faces closure

Scotland's smallest secondary school faces closure today when Shetland Islands Council meets to consider the final fate of Skerries School Secondary Department.

The council's Education and Families Committee yesterday voted to proceed with closure, but only on the casting vote of chair Vaila Wishart after it was tied at five each on whether to close or keep the four year school open as a two year secondary.

The two-year compromise is likely to be proposed again today.

The school has only three pupils based in one classroom in the island's primary school and officials recommend that in August they transfer to Anderson High School in Lerwick on the Shetland mainland.

The ferry takes and hour and a half to Vidlin on the Shetland mainland which is 23 miles north of Lerwick, which requires a half hour bus journey, and the pupils would have to board five days a week. The possibility of closure has already been considered several times.

A majority of the 70 islanders oppose the closure. But the council has approved a plan which seeks saving of £3.268 million from education between 2013-18. Closing Skerries secondary would achieve savings of £73,473 a year.

The islanders praise the education the handful of secondary pupils have always received.

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