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Teacher Sought for Single-Pupil School in Island on the Edge of the World | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Kate Hopper / Foula Primary

London – A new head teacher is being sought for a single pupil school on a Scottish island described as being on the edge of the world.

Jayne Smith is leaving Foula Primary, in Shetland, after three-and-a-half years in the post.

The job is being advertised with a salary of £49,133 and rented three-bedroom accommodation is available.

The closing date is Thursday and there has been interest from as far afield as South Africa and Azerbaijan.

Foula, about 20 miles west of the Shetland Mainland, is one of the UK’s most remote inhabited islands and has a population of just 32. It was the location for the 1937 Michael Powell film The Edge of the World.

The school currently has two pupils but one is leaving for high school in Lerwick at the end of the current term.

Ms Smith, 38, told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland: “I have loved my time on Foula, it has just been amazing.

“Most of the time I have been there we have actually had just one pupil.

“He has been in the upper stages of primary, so we have been able to go and visit Fair Isle, we have had lots of trips to the Mainland, it has just been brilliant.”
‘Miss roads’

Of her decision to leave in October, she said: “When I came I was initially going to do two years, I thought it would look good on my CV, and then of course I got caught up with being there.

“But I feel it is time to go and get back to the mainland, because I miss the little things like…..roads, proper roads, being able to get the car into fifth gear. If you get it out of second on Foula you’re doing really good.”

And of the type of people suited to the post, the departing teacher said: “To be quite honest, the job is only a small part of it, it’s got to be someone who’s so adaptable and able to live in an isolated area.

“We can be cut off from the mainland for, I think the longest time while I have been there has been three weeks that we have had no ferry and no plane.

“You have to be really resilient.

“We want somebody special who is coming in enthusiastic with new ideas and who is going to love living on Foula.”

The flight to the Shetland Mainland is 15 minutes, and the ferry journey is two-and-a-half hours.