Isle of Wight council make unexpected move on All Saints’ primary closure

The council has received a legal challenge in relation to the closure notice.

children and teachers on grass

The Isle of Wight council has withdrawn the statutory notice on school places in the West Wight.

Earlier in the month the Cabinet voted in favour of the closure of All Saints’ Primary School, Freshwater, on 3 April 2020 and future expansion of Yarmouth CE Primary School.

Under the recommendation, Yarmouth primary would relocate to the All Saints’ site once proposed building works are completed there. 

Legal challenge
An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said:

“The council has taken a decision at this stage to withdraw the public notice it issued on the 19 July in relation to school places in the West Wight to enable it to fully and carefully consider a legal challenge it has received in relation to the notice.”

Consultation extended
The council had extended the formal period of consultation from four to nine weeks, closing on Friday, 20th September 2019 to take account of the school summer holidays.

Given the notice has been withdrawn there is nothing to now respond to.

Critchley: Decision badly handled since day one
Island Labour chair, Julian Critchley, said,

“The Tory council needs to reconsider this decision, which has been badly handled since day one.

“Listen to the local communities, and keep their schools open.”

Lowthion: Disruptive delay could result in an even deeper mess
Cllr Vix Lowthion from Freshwater said,

“Whilst this notice of withdrawal is welcome if it will result in keeping our rural schools open, I fear that this may be a disruptive delay resulting in an even deeper mess for the schools in the West Wight.

“It is vital that Council decisions are made in the next couple of months, as teachers and governors, parents and children need to be able to make decisions regarding jobs and schools and homes and their future.”

Hanging over the area for years
Cllr Lowthion went on to say,

“The debate over the future of schools in the West Wight has been hanging over the area for years, has delayed capital investment in new buildings and – in the last six months – has resulted in much upset and division.

“Meanwhile, All Saints Primary has announced record SATs results: 91% of 11 year olds reached Age Related Expectations this summer (well above Island average of 59%) – achieved against all odds during the intensive talks to close the school. Congratulations to them!

“I hope that the Council can resolve the situation soon – residents in the West Wight deserve to know where they stand.”

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