A proposal designed to secure long-term educational and financial stability for schools in the West Wight will go before the Isle of Wight Council’s Cabinet next week.
In recommending the closure of All Saints’ CE Primary School in Freshwater from 31 August 2020, the council said it was protecting the future viability of the remaining four schools in the West Wight amid falling pupil numbers.
Subject to decicions by Yarmouth Governors
Any decision to close the school by Cabinet next Thursday (9 January) will be subject to the governing body of Yarmouth Primary School taking a decision to relocate their school to the vacant All Saints’ site for the start of the academic year 2021/22. They are due to make a decision on 13 January.
Should that happen, the authority said the well-being of all pupils and their families affected by the changes would be its primary concern.
Two implementation groups will be formed to work with each school to ensure the highest possible teaching and learning standards are maintained, the transition of pupils is as seamless as possible, and staff are fully supported.
Brading: “Five primary schools in West Wight cannot be sustained”
Councillor Paul Brading, Cabinet member for Children’s Services, said:
“No recommendation to close a school is taken lightly but the council must look to the needs of the West Wight’s children, not only now, but also long into the future in coming to its final decision about how to address the oversupply of places.
“Five primary schools in the West Wight cannot be sustained — forecast numbers make that very clear.
“I would like to reassure parents and pupils that if All Saints’ does close, we will do everything we can to make the transition as smooth as it can possibly be, and that parents will be kept informed at every stage in the process.”
The council must address the oversupply of school places in the West Wight, with five schools currently catering for around 90 children per year group — a number which is expected to fall over the coming years.
Best opportunity for long-term stability
The recommendation set out in the report is felt to provide the best opportunity to secure the long-term educational and financial stability for West Wight families and schools.
Given schools are largely funded on a per pupil basis, having one less primary school in the West Wight would mean the remaining four are more financially sustainable and will have the resources needed to fund high quality teaching and learning for the children.
The Freshwater site is also due to receive a multi-million-pound investment from the Department for Education. This would see up to 90 percent of the existing structure demolished and rebuilt and the original historical front of the school remodelled and fully refurbished.
Cabinet is due to meet on Thursday 9 January at Whitwell Village Hall.
News shared by Isle of Wight council, in their own words. Ed