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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 16:39 GMT
Communities oppose schools plan
Daliburgh School, Western Isles
Costs per pupil at Daliburgh School were found to be 'very high'
There is strong opposition to the proposed closures of two secondary school departments on the Western Isles, formal consultation has found.

The departments at Bayble and Daliburgh could be shut down because of falling rolls and rising costs. Pupils would then attend classes at other schools.

Views were sought from parents, pupils, teachers and communities.

Their comments and assessments by education officials will be considered by councillors next week.

Education officials said there had been a significant response opposing the discontinuation of S1/2 provision in Bayble School.

However, they said keeping the department would not meet aspirations of delivering a quality curriculum.

Officers also warned of other "inescapable" and "significant" factors.

One was falling pupil numbers over the last 30 years - from 6,315 in 1977 to 3,850 in 2007.

'Very high'

A report, which goes before Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's education and children's services committee on Tuesday, said: "Based on current information all projections indicate, unfortunately, that this trend is set to continue."

It added: "There would in fact need to be a massive rise in local birth rates and/or inward migration to reverse this trend and return the rolls to critical mass and viability."

Consultation on the future of Daliburgh's secondary department also found strong opposition to its closure.

Officials said "very high" pupil costs were involved in keeping it open.

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