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Rural schools campaigners given ‘promise of future meetings to find solutions’ from politicians


By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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Gairloch High School.
Gairloch High School.

Scotland’s cabinet education secretary has made the “promise of future meetings to find solutions” for the parents behind the Save Our Rural Schools campaign.

On June 20, cabinet education secretary Jenny Gilruth and Highland Council leader Raymond Bremner met with west-coast Highland parents who have been campaigning for months to get a better deal for their children.

Jenny Gilruth met with representatives from the community.
Jenny Gilruth met with representatives from the community.

Last February saw the publication of an open letter titled Save Our Rural Schools, addressed to Raymond Bremner and Jenny Gilruth. The letter was sent by parents of pupils at Ullapool, Gairloch, Kinlochbervie and Farr High Schools, calling for a meeting to discuss the “dire state” of the buildings.

READ MORE ON THE SAVE OUR RURAL SCHOOLS CAMPAIGN:

•Ullapool High School pupil shares 'detrimental' reality behind virtual learning

•Ullapool rural education campaigners demand end to 'buck passing'

•West Highland parents say their high schools "are beyond breaking point"

•Ullapool and Gairloch schools' crisis: Education Secretary responds to concerns

After months of campaigning and amassing over 900 signatures on the open letter, the parents finally secured an online meeting with the two politicians.

The Save Our Rural Schools letter bluntly stated that rural schools were “failing to provide a basic curriculum” due to unavailability of core subjects, under-staffing and insufficient funding that was “taking its toll” on the wellbeing of pupils, teachers and the livelihoods of remote communities.

Onie Tibbit is the co-chair of Gairloch High School Parent Council and one of the campaigners behind the Save Our Rural Schools campaign. She said: “We would like to express our thanks to the cabinet education secretary and councillor Bremner for a constructive meeting, and we are reassured both the Scottish Government and Highland Council are open to continuing discussions with each other and with us around our key campaign asks.

Jenny Gilruth met with representatives from the community.
Jenny Gilruth met with representatives from the community.

“We felt there was a lot of good will expressed in the meeting to look into the issues we had raised. We are feeling hopeful that we will be able to work together in the promised future meetings to find solutions going forward.

“We are planning on continuing as a parent-led working group representing schools in the Northwest Highlands.”


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