A Freshwater primary school which has just eight pupils enrolled to start this September could close its doors for good next summer.
In a report published today (Friday) the Isle of Wight Council announced its preferred option to deal with falling pupil numbers in the West Wight would be to close of All Saints CE Primary school and expand the nearby St Saviour’s RC Primary School.
If the plans are approved, the school would close at the end of next year’s summer term.
Surplus rate of 62%
All Saints, which has the capacity for 210 pupils, only has 81 on its books — a surplus rate of 62 per cent.
The surplus rate at St Saviour’s is just 0.6 per cent.
Consultation in March
A report published by the council today (Friday) said the cabinet member for education, Cllr Paul Brading, planned to launch a consultation in March aimed at reducing surplus primary school places in the West Wight.
Following the consultation, a decision is expected in June.
Another option included in the report is to close both All Saints and St Saviour’s, and open a new academy school on one of the existing sites.
However, the report acknowledged such a move would ‘remove a highly successful and popular school in St Saviour’s’.
A further option is to allow all schools in the West Wight to remain open — but the council said that option failed to deal with the issue of surplus places.
Decision under delegated powers
The final decision will be made by Cllr Brading under delegated powers, unless he chooses to bring it before the cabinet.
The report stated:
“All Saints’ CE Primary School has a significant level of surplus capacity, showing it is not the local school of choice.
“For September 2019 they currently have eight first preference applications. It is also, therefore, the school most likely to be adversely affected by the forecast reduction in pupil numbers.”
It added the school had been rated as ‘requires improvement’ at its last three Ofsted inspections, and had not been ‘good’ for more than a decade.
More than 150 people have signed a petition, launched yesterday, to keep the primary school open.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed