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Luing keeps school. Gets Islands Centre

  • 2021-08-01 01:36:42
  • 172

In the usual excellent coverage of Argyll matters, For Argyll  reports that what saved Luing school from closure was not the educational benefit it provides for its pupils – recognised in the latest report from HM Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) but the fact that journey time to the alternative mainland school, along with many other journey times, had conveniently been wrongly calcuated by the council and would take more than the arbitrary limit of 45 minutes each way.

In the case of the Luing pupils the Council was actually prepared to see them cross the Cuan Sound in a shuttling open boat in all weathers and in all seasons, waiting for them all to be brought across before transferring to a minibus to go on to the village of Ellenabeich.

Luing School has 21 pupils – 5 in the nursery – and every aspect of its service to these children has been praised by HMIE as ‘very good’ or ‘good’. and highlights ‘the children feel safe and happy, and are proud of their achievements.’

At the first of the protests outside Kilmory Council HQ  in Lochgilphead in November, the Luing parent council brought an open boat of the same size intended to transport their children to school year round, then simulated the proposed journey (filmed and timed) when it was shown to be incapable of completion in 45 minutes putting a kibosh on any closure plans.

The plans for the Atlantic Islands Centre – to be based on Luing – were approved at the end of January  at a planning committee hearing in Cullipool Hall on the island.

Norman Bissell, (left) vice chairman  of the Isle of Luing Community Trust is reported delighted. "A great day for the people of Luing and for the future of the whole community after so much hard work by Trust members. It is a watershed in the history of the island.

"The councillors went out in the pouring rain to see for themselves the ruined walls of the engine shed and listened intently for over three hours to arguments for and against the planning applications. They unanimous concluded the shed should be demolished and the Atlantic Islands Centre should be built on the site.

"Seven residents of Luing spoke passionately about the need for a museum to display our proud heritage and about educational, social, economic and environmental benefits the Centre would bring to our community.

Sixteen young people from the island who had to go to school and couldn’t be there took photos of themselves and put them on a long poster to show that they also supported the Centre.

‘Phil Robertson, who has lived all his life on Luing, worked on the farm for 45 years and previously been chairman of the Community Council for 16 years, said that Cullipool  was once a busy slate quarry village with lots of children playing in the street and he hoped that the Centre would bring much needed life back into it.

"The Luing community can now go forward together to raise the remaining funding to build the Centre so that we can enjoy the kind of amenities that other islands have.
The Atlantic Islands Centre is an imaginative and forward-looking venture, the loss set against the loss of a historic engine room, and committed to the future of Luing where preserving the status quo is the road to inevitable decline."

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