Parents whose children use the Language Unit in Orkney were stunned to hear of its closure when told of it by staff at the unit. The restructuring of the service which appears to have come with no consultation with those who use the service has also come as a complete surprise to most councillors.
The Language Unit has always been an easy target for cut backs with many councillors not understanding the crucial role it plays in a child’s education. By nature a small unit with highly skilled and dedicated staff, the service it can offer to children with language difficulties is vital in their ability to access mainstream education.
Language is fundamental to children, not only in learning to read and write but in the development of social skills. Difficulties in communicating not only prevents a child from accessing the curriculum but it also causes them great upset and frustration.
A Facebook page was set up yesterday by a parent, Wednesday, to fight the closure of this vital unit.
Lisa Groundwater, a parent has said on the Facebook page:
“I have started this Facebook page to support the Orkney Language Unit, following the announcement today that Orkney Islands Council will close it’s doors in June. Our son only started at the Language Unit last week, but he loves everything about it. The number of children that require additional support with their language skills is increasing, not decreasing, so surely we need to see the Language Unit expand, not close!”
“The apparent ‘restructure’ of this service is complete nonsense. There was no consultation process before this decision was made whatsoever……….”
“Please share this page and comment with as much support as possible. We need to generate a lot of interest and make a lot of noise to ensure this service remains in place for the children of Orkney!”
It is appalling that parents whose children use the service and those who were allocated future places in it have not been consulted about the closure. It is also shocking that local councillors have been taken by surprise by the ‘restructuring’ either due to a lack of scrutiny of official papers or a lack of knowledge about its importance.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
Keep the Orkney Language Unit Open
UPDATE: Local Green MSP John Finnie has sent this letter to OIC asking for clarification
It’s always the same ….’restructuring’ mean cuts.
And the money is there, we see OIC spending money on all kinds of nonsense. Let’s hope the up-coming elections bring some real change.
I can’t comment on this on Facebook, as I don’t ‘do’ Facebook. Another bee I have in my bonnet! I can see it’s uses, but also it’s, many, mis-uses – but that’s another matter.
It has been found though, in the past, that OIC would try to put something in place, some kind of cuts to services, then, the people would kick up about it, and the Council would do a U -turn – I’m pleased to say! I needn’t go into the examples, think back through the last few years and there are plenty. So, maybe people power will prevail again in this case.
Meanwhile – some confused children and frustrated parents.
I do find it hard to believe that the OIC councillors who instigate these things, actually live here.
A couple of suggestions…………
1) Use the money which is potentially going to be spent on changing Broad Street ( changes which it has been shown that the majority of the public do not want), to fund the Language Unit. Or, better still, if all the money already spent on reports and planning regarding the Kirkwall ‘placemaking’ had been used for the Language Unit instead?
2) Instead of spending a lot of money on cutting great swathes of grass, constantly through the summer – let the grass go to meadow and use the money saved to fund the Language Unit.
Any more suggestions?