Isle of Wight councillors have voted in favour of a proposal to improve the quality of post-16 education by reducing the number of Sixth Form providers on the Island.
The motion was led by leader of the Island Independent councillors, Cllr Ian Stephens.
Too many “unviable sixth forms”
Cllr Paul Brading, the Cabinet member in charge of education, said the Island has too many ‘unviable’ sixth forms, adding that they don’t always offer the best education to children.
The council chamber voted unanimously in favour of the motion, although it wasn’t clear what happens next.
Extend range of subjects
Cllr Michael Lilley told members the IWC needed to extend the range of subjects and skills for young people to study on the Island. He said it was a shame there are so many vacancies on the Island that can’t be filled by native Islanders.
He went on to add that Brockenhurst has Chinese on the curriculum because it’s the second most used language at Southampton University. He said they needed to think about the Gigabit Island and how young Islanders can be part of that.
Not “fit for purpose”
Cllr Outlaw said that sixth form provision on the Island is “not fit for purpose”. He explained that his child can only do one A-Level subject at Sandown Bay Academy, having to do another at Ryde Academy and the third outside of school.
Cllr Fuller’s daughter ended up doing her A-Levels on the mainland after Island providers couldn’t guarantee the subjects she chose would continue for two full years. She passed with As and A*s and is now at Bath University.
He said that his daughter had no doubt in her mind that if she’d studied her A-levels on the Island, she’d still be on the Island and not at university.
Island students “being let down”
Cllr Mosdell joined the debate saying her daughter had to do her A-Levels online as no schools on the Island provided the combination of subjects she wanted. Her daughter is now at Exeter studying law.
The councillor said it’s “very sad” that Island students are “being let down”.