Pupil costs at Tiree as high as send­ing child to Eton

The Oban Times - - News -

IT COSTS as much to send a pupil to Tiree High School as it does to Eton.

Speak­ing at Fri­day’s pub­lic meet­ing, which was called by Oban Com­mu­nity Coun­cil to dis­cuss the forth­com­ing Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil bud­get, Coun­cil­lor Elaine Robertson said: ‘You could send pupils from Tiree High School to Eton for what it costs to keep the school run­ning.’

Eton’s school fees run at just over £11,000 a term, plus ex­tras; Tiree High School costs £ 33,361 a year for each of its 25 pupils, com­pared to Oban High, which has more than 1,000 pupils and spends £ 5,091. (2014-15 bud­get).

The coun­cil­lor said she was not ad­vo­cat­ing clos­ing Tiree High School, but high­light­ing the costs fac­ing Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil in pro­vid­ing ser­vices on more than 20 is­lands and in re­mote ar­eas, and that Ar­gyll and Bute re­ceived less of the Spe­cial Is­lands Needs Al­lowance pro-rata than Western isles, Orkney or Shet­land.

Fri­day’s meet­ing was over­shad­owed by the Wed­nes­day evening meet­ing the com­mu­nity coun­cil or­gan­ised in con­junc­tion with AB-PACC, Ar­gyll and Bute Par­ents Against Coun­cil Cuts, which was held in the Cor­ran Halls. There, more than 300 peo­ple were fu­ri­ous that the coun­cil was con­sid­er­ing cut­ting the num­ber of spe­cial needs as­sis­tants in schools.

The worry on Fri­day was where else the axe would fall; 30 peo­ple at­tended.

Soroba Young Fam­i­lies Group was out in force; it is not faced with clo­sure if the pro­posed cuts go ahead this year but it would have to stop its birth-to-three-years sec­tion.

One mem­ber of the pub­lic, Kirsteen Bin­nie, said: ‘Teach­ers I know are buy­ing re­sources them­selves for use in the class­room.’

Coun­cil­lor Neil Mac­In­tyre said he wanted to see ev­ery­one take a small cut rather than see some ser­vices lost al­to­gether – ‘Ev­ery­one takes a small cut to keep ev­ery­thing go­ing’ – and he wanted to see ma­jor sav­ings in the tiers of mid­dle man­age­ment,

Alan Reid stand­ing as Lib Dem Ar­gyll and Bute can­di­date for the 2016 Scot­tish elec­tions, said that de­bat­ing which of the cuts in the coun­cil’s con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ment should be made was a de­press­ing ex­er­cise. He called for peo­ple to all work to­gether and mount a cam­paign to per­suade the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to give Ar­gyll and Bute a fair share of lo­cal gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

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