West Wight Area Primary School Provision Consultation To Begin

Consultation into closure of primary schools in West Wight to start on Monday

This in from the council, in their own words. Ed

West Wight SchoolsA six week consultation on options to reduce the number of primary school places in the Freshwater and Totland area will begin on Monday 13 June.

Because the number of places in the area is much higher than children to take them, the council is looking to reduce provision. The council’s preferred option is to close Weston Primary School as part of the move to reduce surplus places.

Council need to remove empty places
It is important that education is provided as cost-effectively as possible. The council needs to take action to remove empty places at schools that are unpopular with parents and which do little to raise standards or improve choice

Janet Newton, IW Council Head of Schools Infrastructure said the pupil intake number at Weston was unsustainable, saying “Weston’s reception intake for September 2011 is currently seven pupils, which leaves 23 unfilled places.

“Because of the small number of children at the school, it needs over £1500 more funding per pupil than the Island average to keep going. This funding should be used to raise standards at schools rather than paying for empty desks”

There are sufficient available places to accommodate any pupils at other local schools.

Change to trust school supported
The council and the Church of England Diocese of Portsmouth will also actively support the change of All Saints Primary School from a voluntary controlled school to a trust school although this will not affect its religious character. This change of status will mean that the new All Saints governing body will be wholly representative of the local community. This is important because Weston is the only non faith-based school west of Newport.

Formal consultation on the preferred option to close Weston Primary School will end at 1700 on Friday 22 July.

There will also be a public meeting at West Wight Middle School in Freshwater on Thursday 23 June from 1900 – 2100.

Residents can comment by emailing freshwater.totland@iow.gov.uk or in writing to:

Alex Moffat
Principal Officer: School Place Sufficiency
Isle of Wight Council
County Hall
Newport
Isle of Wight
PO30 1UD

7 Comments

  1. Lilly's comment is rated +12 Vote +1 Vote -1

    9.Jun.2011 11:51am

    Once again the answer to the question ‘if it ain’t broke why fix it?’ is ‘profit and privatisation’.

    Reply
  2. Jeremy Cangialosi's comment is rated +14 Vote +1 Vote -1

    18.Jun.2011 3:40pm

    Re: Consultation on the reduction of primary school provision in the Freshwater and Totland area.
    (Closure of our local Rural Community School, Weston Primary School)

    Totland has seen a decline over the years of young families and children living in the area due to a lack of affordable housing and loss of local jobs, the council’s view is that a shortage of pupil subscription to Weston Primary School amounts to it being “the least popular choice with parents” (out of the three schools considered for reduction). The council has not addressed the concern for provision of diversity within a rural community effectively and has continued to earmark our school for closure. . .

    Weston Primary is designated as a rural school under The Designation of Rural Primary School (England) 2009 Order and although I sympathise with the council’s requirements to cut back on costs, I believe the council’s case and proposal of closing Weston is not strong enough to make when balanced against the effect it will have on the future of the Totland community.

    Should Totland lose it’s only Community Primary School I am concerned the area will see an accelerated decline in the habitation of young families and Totland will become inaccessible to all but holiday home owners, retired couples and care homes occupants . . . a complete breakdown of this community.

    I am also anxious and concerned that there would be a reduction to the diversity of provision for non-faith schooling in the wider local area, including Freshwater and more generally to the west of Newport. . . furthermore there is little to convince me that the proposed restructuring of All Saints Primary with a change of category to a Trust School would provide a fair and unbiased diversity of accessible non-faith primary education within this wider rural community.

    Weston school has the best Ofsted report of the three schools considered for reduction of places/ closure . . . I ask everyone in a rural area to consider the implications of this and help to oppose the closure of Weston School by emailing your concerns to freshwater.totland@iow.gov.uk or in writing to:

    Alex Moffat
    Principal Officer: School Place Sufficiency
    Isle of Wight Council
    County hall
    Newport
    Isle of Wight
    PO30 1UD
    .

    Yours sincerely, Jeremy Cangialosi

    Reply
  3. Asite2c's comment is rated +11 Vote +1 Vote -1

    18.Jun.2011 6:11pm

    If they continue down this road sadly I can see many of the Island’s rural communities going the same way which would be disastrous for the Island.

    It’s sad looking at the old postcards of Totland Bay Pier seeing people boarding the old steamer passenger ships.

    Reply
  4. Peter's comment is rated +12 Vote +1 Vote -1

    19.Jun.2011 8:43am

    Deciding to close Weston has nothing to do with education, but is purely based on money. Weston has been judged by Ofsted to be the best in the area – good with outstanding features. So how can the education standards in the area be improved by closing the best school? Would any of the councillors making these decisions be happy if they were forced to take their children out of the best school in the area to send them to ones which have only been judged as satisfactory?
    Diversity of provision in the area, which the council must have regard to in making decisions, will also be seiously affected, with the nearest non faith school being Nine Acres in Newport, so it clearly makes no sense on this aspect to close Weston. Although of course as faith schools the other schools under consideration would have an automatic right of appeal to the School Adjudicator, whereas Weston, as a community school wouldn’t. Are they proposing to close the best school, which provides diversity in the area and supports its community, because this would appear to be the easiest target, with no automatic right of appeal against what would clearly be, on all grounds, a bad decision?
    It is interesting to note that it was the council in 2009 which increased Weston’s intake figure from 15 to 30 based on the fact that it would be moving to the West Wight Middle site. The council seems to be relying on one part of this – the increase in places to 30, to say that the school is unpopular, as based on this figure it has spare places, without actually moving the school to the more central and densely populated site, where a good school would be able to fill those 30 places. The council is only relying on the parts of the 2009 proposal which suits its needs. If the intake figure had not been increased by the council in 2009 then Weston’s percentage of uptake in places would be the same if not better than other schools in the area, so how can the council say it is unpopular?
    This proposal is purely about saving money and will certainly not be for the best interest of education provision in the area.
    This must be stopped and we all need to get together to let the council appreciate the strong feelings of the people on the Island, for if we merely sit back and think it doesn’t concern us what changes will they try to get away with in future?

    Reply
  5. Jeremy Cangialosi's comment is rated +13 Vote +1 Vote -1

    20.Jun.2011 8:25am

    This is a letter from Ed Buckner,

    He has a PhD in Educational Leadership (Educational Foundations), Georgia State University (1983)
    M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction (Secondary English), Georgia State University (1975)
    B.A. English, Rice University (1967)Award for excellence in teaching, Georgia State University Foundation, 1980-1981 and 1983-1984.
    Elected to College of Public and Urban Affairs Executive Committee, 1983-1985.
    Elected as Senator for Urban Studies Department, Georgia State University Senate, 1985-1986.

    Isle of Wight Council
    Isle of Wight
    20 June 2011 CE

    Dear Honorable Members of Council:

    From what I understand of the situation there in the Isle of Wight, you are possibly on a path that can ruin, possibly forever, the fine reputation of the Isle as a place of cosmopolitan erudition, egalitarian opportunity, and a fair and just devotion to the education of all children. The Isle of Wight will become a worldwide laughingstock if the secular education of all children whose parents want such a secular education if not secured.

    In this day and age it would be unconscionable to provide such parents with only a Catholic or C of E alternative. Weston Primary, Totland, Isle of Wight, has the needed reputation and has secured successful rating via the Ofsted report; it should not be closed. I submit to you that your legal and moral obligations for maintaining diversity of provision within education especially with regards to a parents choice to send their child to a school that best represents their own religion/ beliefs or non-beliefs, require you to keep Weston Primary open.

    I will be most interested in hearing back from you at your earliest convenience as to whether you are able to make the right decision in this vital matter.

    With great interest and high regards,

    Ed Buckner
    Smyrna GA USA 30082

    Reply
  6. Jeremy Cangialosi's comment is rated +1 Vote +1 Vote -1

    29.Jun.2011 5:41pm

    For the chap who asked me to post this:

    The Human Rights Act protects your right to have your own thoughts, beliefs and religion.

    Right to education . . .

    “No person shall be denied a right to an education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.”

    “Parents also have a right to ensure that their religious and philosophical beliefs are respected during the children’s education.”

    “Importantly, this right protects a wide range of religious beliefs and other beliefs including veganism, pacifism, agnosticism and atheism.”

    ———
    Page 26 of the councils faith guide:

    “The Human Rights legislation and the new legislation around Incitement to Religious Hatred gives equal protection to religious and non-religious beliefs.”

    This may also be of interest (It is the councils equality plan, not sure it is up to date?):

    http://www.iwight.com/council/documents/docFiles/1842006_24_IWCouncilCEP.pdf

    Also a link to some guidelines for closing a mainstream school:

    http://www.iwight.com/education/news/2011/WestWight-Primary-Provision/Decision-Makers-Guidance.pdf

    Hope this helps . . .

    Reply
  7. Jeremy Cangialosi's comment is rated +1 Vote +1 Vote -1

    29.Jun.2011 7:45pm

    Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
    Co-Director
    The Association of British Muslims

    “I’m wary of single faith schools. The potential for discrimination is too great and I prefer truly inclusive options. After all, what is the faith of a 5 year old? I certainly had no idea what my religious/philosophical beliefs were at that age and I doubt many children do. Hence, even for the communities which faith schools cater for, they are in this regard unfair to the children, by promoting a religious tradition to them which they may later reject. I firmly believe all children deserve the right to be taught about all religious, spiritual and philosophical traditions in an unbiased manner, without any particular preference, so they will be free to make up their own minds on such matters at a time when they are ready. Single faith schools have the potential to infringe this freedom, a fundamental human right.”

    Reply

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