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Tuesday, April 20, 1999 Published at 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK

Education: Features

Tiny school's closure fears

Gigha has about 100 inhabitants

BBC Scotland's Education Correspondent, Kenneth Macdonald, has been asking people in the Scottish education system what they want from the new Scottish Parliament. This week: the tiny primary school on the island of Gigha in the Inner Hebrides.

[ image: Four-a-side football in the playground]
Four-a-side football in the playground
Gigha's school has only eight pupils. But the headteacher, Lorna MacAlister, believes she speaks for all teachers in Scotland when she says they need "a breathing space".

"I think we need time to consolidate the five to 14 curriculum and I think we need time to work on all the new initiatives that we've had in recent years in schools," she said.

The school is run by a six-member board, chaired by one of the parents, Margaret Wilkieson.

[ image: Margaret Wilkieson:
Margaret Wilkieson: "Come and see us"
"I think for all parents in small schools the fear now is a fear of closure, and we really want the Scottish Parliament to take note of the importance of the school within a community," she said.

"And the importance of the community on the development, the social development mainly, of the children here.

[ image: Adam Teale:
Adam Teale: "Roads need resurfacing"
"I want the Scottish Parliament to come and see it. I don't want them making decisions behind closed doors."

The pupils' concerns are very down to earth - new roofs for buildings damaged in the winter's storms, better roads, a new play park.

Michael Sheriff wants a change to the timetable for the ferry which connects the island to Tayinloan on the Kintyre peninsula, which does not operate on Sundays in winter.

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