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David Griffith from Yarmouth in relation to West Wight surplus school places issue. Ed
Amid the accusations and innuendo in his letter of 27th December, Steve Cowley suggests that the Governors of Shalfleet and Yarmouth schools “have lost their way”.
However, the Mayor of Yarmouth may wish to check his own compass. He is now once again calling for the closure of Freshwater school and the dispersal of its pupils. Yet when he chaired a public meeting of the town council on 26th November, he enthusiastically supported and agreed to take forward a proposal that the Governors should be asked to move not Yarmouth…..but the much larger Shalfleet school!
Reasons to move Yarmouth school
The plan to move Yarmouth school (pupils and their teachers) to Freshwater should be supported for the following reasons:
- Given demographic trends, and where our children actually live, it offers the best solution for children and families in the West Wight as a whole. (Just a handful of the the children at Yarmouth now live in the town or close by; the rest live overwhelmingly in Freshwater or Totland.)
- It keeps together a proven staff and leadership, who can be expected to run an excellent school in Freshwater.
- It allows one form entry, so that children of different ages do not have to be taught by the same teacher, in the same room.
- It will be housed in a a modern, flexible building on a spacious site – close to the library and sports centre – with funding from central government.
Some parents reluctant to speak out
Naturally, some in Yarmouth feel very emotional about the prospect of ‘their’ school moving. However, many residents see the merits of the proposal, though they are reluctant to speak out because of pressure from activists, including an aggressive campaign on social media.
It would be good to see Yarmouth Town Council begin to focus on how best to re-purpose the existing school buildings. (Perhaps as a much-needed centre for children with special needs? An enlarged doctors’ surgery? A space for adult education? A combination of these and other community uses?)
No longer an island within an island
Time for Yarmouth to remember that it is no longer an island within an island, and to start working more closely with its neighbours to help build the future of all the communities in West Wight.