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Britain’s smallest school shuts after only pupil moves on

North Ronaldsay Primary School is to close when its only pupil moves to a secondary school in Mainland Orkney.

The smallest school in Britain is to close when its only pupil moves to a secondary school in Mainland Orkney.

North Ronaldsay Primary School’s single classroom will be kept on “stand-by” from August after Teigan Scott, 12, takes the daily flight to her new school.

The pupil has attended the tiny school building for several years but will now take a 20-minute flight to Mainland Orkney to attend Kirkwall Grammar School.

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Teighan Scott will take a daily flight to Kirkwall Grammar School (David Cheskin/PA)

Councillor Kevin Woodbridge said the population on North Ronaldsay, the most northern island in the Orkney archipelago, had halved since he arrived in 1977.

He said poor transport links and broadband services affect the population’s ability to work.

He said: “It’s very sad but it demonstrates the decline on the island that has led to this.

“When I came here there were 17 people at the school and 127 on the island, now we have 50 to 60 people.

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The school will be kept on 'standby' and will re-open if a family with children moves to the island (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“I think it’s totally down to the transport on the island, we only get fresh food once a week during winter.”

Orkney Islands Council said the school would be brought back into use if more families with primary school age children move to the island.

It will also be used by community groups on the island.

A spokesman for the local authority said: “North Ronaldsay Primary School’s single classroom is part of a building housing a range of community facilities.

“The classroom will be kept on stand-by from August onwards and would be used as a school room again if a family or families with primary-age children move to the island.

“In the meantime, it will remain open for people of all ages in North Ronaldsay to use for a range of learning activities, managed by the local community association.

“This approach to keeping the room actively in use has been developed in discussion between Orkney Islands Council and a number of community groups in North Ronaldsay.”

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