Comment posted ARSN submission to Rural Education Commission by Tim McIntyre.
Thanks Neil, and for what it’s worth I don’t doubt what you say about your understanding and empathy with rural areas. In fact I think we are lucky enough to live in a part of the world where splits of the type sometimes alluded to – between ‘urban’ and ‘rural’, or between young people & the elderly – are largely fictitious. None of the towns we have in Argyll are large enough to be described as ‘urban’ and many or most local families have strong connections between the town areas and the countryside.
As for Bonawe, I fully agree with you that, as with any school, it relies on parental support to survive. I would argue that the fact that the school is still open suggests that some parents do strongly support it, since they have obviously had to weigh any concerns they may have over the small size of the pupil roll against the desire to see the school survive for the sake of the longer term future of the community. Having attended the pre-consultation meeting in Ardchattan last March, I can assure you that the wider community, including many people in the village who do not have children, but are involved with the day to day life of the school, are strongly supportive of it. Furthermore the housing association representative expressed the view that the school was a significant factor in the large number of people on their waiting list who have expressed a preference for a house in the village.
Tim McIntyre also commented
- Neil – Ardchattan School in Bonawe currently has three pupils, and no-one would deny that it is at a low ebb. Likewise, Barcaldine school had only seven pupils at one point (I was one of them, so it’s longer ago than I would care to admit). Now Barcaldine has twenty-two, and has been more-or-less full for the last decade or so.
Why? Barcaldine has not undergone any major house-building programme, nor enjoyed any significant economic boost (the closure of the Alginate factory in the late 90s lost us our last major employer) since I was at school. There has simply been a kind of demographic renewal resulting in an increase in the school-age population.
As long as a community like Bonawe has a school, it has a reasonable chance of undergoing such a renewal in due course, but that becomes much less likely if the school closes. Seen from that perspective, what appears to be a short-term spike in the ‘cost per pupil’ of educating Bonawe’s children close to home is in fact an investment in the long term sustainability of that community.
Also, as is abundantly clear to anyone who has visited the school, it has close connections with the community and plays a very important part in the lives of everyone, from toddlers to the elderly – the more so because it is the only community facility they have. Allow it to survive now, and it will thrive again in the future.
- Simon – I’m really looking forward to hearing your considered response to the ARSN submission. In the mean time, do you think you could lay off the SNP-bashing for just a little while? Even for those of us with no party allegiance, it’s really starting to get tedious and I’m sure the last thing you want is to be boring everyone
The story also has nothing whatever to do with the SNP, nor even with the decision to close Hillhead school, which (I agree with you) looks pretty awful.
- A collaborative effort too – although my name is at the top of the submission, most of the clear thinking and hard work that went into this must be credited to ARSN individuals from every corner of Argyll.
Recent comments by Tim McIntyre
- Problems with both pro-indy and pro-union campaigns
“Johnson is also the Mayor of the UK’s biggest USP – the majestic London.
Most of us wouldn’t want to live there but who doesn’t want it as ‘ours’ – the international envy of its huge economic engine…”
I’m pretty sure this is the first time I have seen the conspicuous and ever-increasing concentration of the UK nations’ wealth and power in London portrayed as the ‘positive case for the union’
- PR gaffes in Community Land Scotland’s ‘Bunchrew Land Declaration’
Is it just me, or does this article, and the comments which follow, concentrate solely on sniping at the title of the initiative because no-one has anything interesting to say about its intent?
From Rhoda Grant’s quote above: “The declaration also acknowledges the deep divisions in Scotland’s land ownership patterns addressing the terrible reality that fewer than 500 people own half of Scotland’s land.”
That statistic is surely a pretty shocking anachronism in the 21st century isn’t it?
- Donors, public money and funding the independence referendum campaigns
Karl – “…if the SG ( SNP) had pushed the devo-max option I would have supported it 100%”
They did. It was Westminster that refused the third option on the ballot paper.
- The no-no campaign
Jamie – I’m not sure if your point is about corroboration or democracy. Majority governing parties pushing through unpopular measures despite opposition is hardly indicative of a democratic crisis – it happens all the time in Westminster, where coalition government is the exception not the rule.
In Scotland at the moment, there is a combination of lack of voter participation (turnout at Holyrood elections far too low) and a lack of credible opposition (other major parties sending all their best & brightest to serve in Westminster where the real power lies). Those two factors could be argued to mean that our democracy functions less than effectively. Oh, and the lack of a constitution or other means to check the power of politicians.
- The no-no campaign
That’s fine in principle Robert, but I think there is a fair expectation that journalists will at least try to interrogate people in positions of high authority who make assertions that are of crucial importance to a debate – you can’t dismiss something said by Mr Barroso as a mere ‘opinion’, like yours or mine – he’s the president of the EC! Marr should have gone into strong devil’s-advocate mode (as he did with Salmond) and drilled down into WHY Barroso thinks that. Perhaps it would have been genuinely enlightening, or perhaps we would have seen just as much prevarication as you say he got from Salmond.
As former BBC Scotland journalist Derek Bateman said on his blog afterwards: “If you have a title, you get automatic respect from the national broadcaster, no matter what you actually say.”
powered by SEO Super Comments