New classmates wanted for Luing school

School for one on Luing? Unless more young families settle on the island soon.

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Luing residents are hoping to entice young families to move to the island and boost numbers at its tiny school.

Unless more children are registered for the start of the August term, there will be just one pupil left.

Keen to find classmates for the youngster, islanders are rallying round to attract other families to join its lively little community on the edge of the Atlantic.

Islanders on Luing would love to see the school playground full again.

Argyll and Bute Council says that regardless of numbers it has no plans to shut the school, but the drastic drop of pupils to just one was worrying enough for Luing Community Council to put it on its agenda.

At the last census count, there were seven pupils.

Community council chairman Mike Barlow, whose own children went to the school,  said: ‘It’s part of the community to have a school here and it would be a real shame if it had to be mothballed  until numbers picked up again.

‘We want to see it stay open. All it will take is a couple of families to come and live here and it would be all change.’

Argyll and Bute councillor Elaine Robertson added: ‘Luing is a wonderful island, it’s a superb place to bring up children. The situation at the school came up at the last community council meeting. I would love to see more young families come and live here. A few years ago the school was thriving, so I was horrified to hear there might be just the one pupil left when the others move up to Oban High School.’

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council told The Oban Times: ‘We have no plans to close any of our schools, including Luing Primary. The future success of Argyll and Bute is built on a growing population, and this is something the council and its partners are very much focused on.’

At the start of this year, the island’s Facebook page posted two family-sized houses up for rent, inviting people to start a 2020 adventure by joining the Luing community, home to the bustling Atlantic Islands Centre, a bakers’ co-operative, an award-winning bakery, and a post office and general store.

The appealing post attracted ‘quite a bit of interest’ as a result, The Oban Times was told, and the owner of both properties is looking to progress it.

Over on the island of Lismore, the search continues for a new headteacher  to replace Catherine Davies when she retires in April. The school has 12 primary-age youngsters and three under-fives in the attached nursery.

Kilchattan Primary School on remote Colonsay is also on the hunt for a new headteacher and is running its own social media campaign to find the right person for the job, offering a salary of £51,249.

Argyll and Bute Council recently launched new website abplace2b.scot to promote living and working in the region.

‘We want to make Argyll and Bute a place people choose to live, learn, work and do business. Our aspiration is to ensure that Argyll and Bute is the best place in Scotland for our children to grow. Our vision is that together we will realise, equality excellence and ambition,’ said a council spokesperson.