Arran Banner letters – week 27

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Education fears


The Scottish government would have us believe that it is being very cautious in its approach to relaxing lockdown.  The opposite is the case.  It is being very reckless, with the future of the Scottish people, the Scottish economy, and perhaps most of all, Scottish schoolchildren.

In seeking to restrict risk from the virus, the SNP government is risking the health and welfare of Scots who cannot go about their business affairs, make medical and dental visits, or socialise.  Yes, all these things would lead to slightly higher virus risk, but there are many other risks (including poverty) to mental and physical health which accelerated lockdown would reduce or eliminate.  Note, incidentally, that there has been no spike in infections after the demonstrations in parts of England totally ignored social distancing.

All this is true even without the Scottish government, trading as CalMac, strangling Arran’s economy and causing total confusion among us as to what can and cannot be arranged.

The first minister has claimed more than once that education is her first priority.  Her actions tell a different story.  It is a disgrace that schools are closed, and will remain so until mid-August.

It is clear from experience in this country and all over the world that the risks from The virus to schoolchildren are trivially low.  Not, admittedly, zero  –  but certainly lower than the risks involved in travelling to and from school, which we accept without question.  By comparison, the risks to schoolchildren of denying them a large chunk of schooling are alarming.

Research by the UCL Institute of Education regarding behaviour during lockdown shows that children qualifying for free school meals are only half as likely to spend four or more hours a day on schoolwork as those who do not qualify.  In all 31 per cent of private schools are offering four or more hours per day of live on-line lessons, against only 6 per cent of state schools.  Within England, 28 per cent of children in the prosperous SE are doing four or more hours of schoolwork per day, against 9 per cent in the more deprived NE.  Those who need the most help to gain some sort of social mobility are actually getting the least.  And all this, of course, is in addition to the fact that Scotland’s educational record by international (OECD) comparison has been poor and declining for years, and is now worse than that in England.

Almost five years ago the first minister demanded that she be judged by her record on education, and in particular in closing the educational attainment gap.  Yes, please.


Richard S Henderson,


Waverley trips


Although, rightly, much has been discussed about the ferry connections, I’m curious to know the thoughts on Waverley sailings if they happen later in the summer and her calls at Brodick and Lochranza.

As almost all passengers on the ship are day trippers and may get off at Brodick for a couple of hours or Lochranza for an hour and having read previously that only people staying on the island for a couple of nights or more would be allowed, has this idea been dropped?


James McIntosh,


Best option


My family and I have been visiting Arran for many years, now my grandchild comes too. Many years ago we considered buying a small property on Arran as we come 3-4 times regularly. However, this did not sit happily with us, not wishing to deprive young families local accommodation.

We now co- own eight weeks on Arran, at the Auchrannie, having bought weeks over the years, since 1993. We have the great advantage of our ‘holiday home’ being used by us only when we want to. We pay maintenance for each week we own and it is looked after and cleaned for our arrival. Thank you to Iain and Linda Johnston for their vision and hard work over the years.

This year we have missed three weeks of our allocation, but obviously still contribute to the costs, and hopefully we’ll be back again soon, when it is safe for everyone.

I believe we have the best option for our holidays on Arran.

Julie and David Laxton,
West Yorkshire.

A delightful sweet treat 

The Banner had a delightful treat this week when on leaving the office found a bag of sweets on the office windowsill with a note urging ‘open me please’.

Inside was a handwritten note which read:

Young or old, big or small, if you find this bag of goodies, please enjoy them all.

And always remember how awesome you are, for staying strong and getting this far.

Lockdown has been hard that is surely true, but I want to let you know I am proud of you.

Life is different now, this I definitely know, but I believe that your can use this time to grow.

Hopefully it won’t be long until things feel normal again, when we can finally come together to make memories with our friends.

Keep you head held high and keep on pushing through, you’re an inspiration and I believe in you.

Love and hugs

Sian xxx

It certainly made my day and the sweets are all eaten!


The bag of sweets left on The Banner windowsill. 01_B27sweets01