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Rural School Closures

Rural School Closures - The Corbett family should be getting ready for the relocation of a lifetime. Flora and Tom and their four-year-old twins, Grace and Harry, are leaving their Invernesshire home and heading back to run Tom's family farm on the Hebridean island of Mull.

The farm, set in 25,000 acres on the south coast of the island, would be to anyone's eyes an idyllic place to raise a young family. But a few weeks ago the Corbetts received the news that the twins' intended primary school was to shut due to funding cuts.

Argyll and Bute Council has proposed that the 14-pupil Lochdonhead primary school in the village of Lochdon be closed with effect from 30 June 2011, and that its pupils should continue their education at Salen primary school, which has 54 pupils, 30 miles away on a single-track road.

Lochdonhead is one of 26 the council has proposed to amalgamate into 20, to save £1.9m from its education budget.

It is one of two prospective closures on the island of Mull, the other being Ulva school, which will merge with Dervaig school, eight miles north. Formal consultations on the closures started on 2 November and a decision will be made on Thursday.

Across the UK, austerity brings with it a threat to the smallest schools, many of which are in remote areas.

There is no official government policy on small schools either in Scotland or the rest of the UK. It's up to local authorities to decide what the provision should be. However, any proposal put forward by a local authority must be properly consulted or it will be called forward for scrutiny.

Rural School Closures


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