Schools case back in court - but Shelibost School will close this summer

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Shelibost School in Harris will close this summer after parents withdrew their opposition to its closure.

The Court of Session reconvened yesterday (Thursday) to try and conclude the court case which concerned Carloway Primary and Shawbost S1/2. This follows a meeting between Education Minister Michael Russell and Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell last week.

The Parent Council of Shelibost have written to the Scottish Government asking that the school be allowed to close and so this aspect of the Government’s appeal has now been dropped.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “Following a request from parents that Shelibost school be allowed to close, the Scottish Government can confirm that we are no longer pursuing this case in court, in line with the views of local parents. A further procedural hearing for the remaining two schools - Carloway and Shawbost - is scheduled for June 18/19, 2013.” 

Harris councillor Philip Maclean said uncertainty had proved too much for Shelibost community: “As one of the Councillors who has supported the retention of all three schools since the outset I feel sad that it has come to this as far as Seilibost is concerned. I’ve no way of knowing what the Leader and Mike Russell discussed at their recent meeting but I know there is to be a further meeting and that further court dates have been set and so I do hope that the parents decision at Seilibost wasn’t premature.

He added: “That said, I totally understand that the uncertainty has proved too much and I remain dismayed that the Comhairle chose to take the Scottish Government to court over its decision to save the three schools in the communities they serve. I don’t think the Scottish Government could have done more in terms of continuing to challenge the Comhairle on this issue.”

A further hearing will be held on March 19th regarding the way forward for Carloway and Shawbost and another on June 18th and 19th.