Ahead of next week’s Isle of Wight council Cabinet meeting, papers released today revealed the officer recommendations for the West Wight School Places.
Lowthion: No-one wants to see schools closed, but Freshwater investment welcome
Speaking as Freshwater Parish Council, Cllr Vix Lowthion told OnTheWight,
“The loss of a primary school in Yarmouth will be deeply upsetting for the town. It is a popular school at the heart of the community and has been there for over a hundred years. No-one in the West Wight wants to see any of our schools closed – rural schools rightly have a degree of protection against closure. But Hampshire Education and our IW Council insist that the numbers of pupils and the funding just does not add up.
“In the longer term, investment in a 21st century school building in the large village of Freshwater is welcome, as for too long the West Wight has been ignored when it comes to updating our public services.
Lowthion: Closure and relocation must be planned properly
Cllr Lowthion went on to add,
“However, in the short term there will be an immense amount of upheaval as pupils may need to be moved around sites, and this will cause a number of problems if not adequately planned for.
“This school closure will have a significant impact upon all the schools in the area. The IW Council must avoid the mistakes made in their woeful reorganisation of schools ten years ago.
“Teachers, governors, parents, councillors and the wider community must be closely involved in the planning and preparation – and a clear commitment made by the Council that a new school in Freshwater will open its doors by 2022.”
Cowley: Ignores 71% of people
Cllr Steve Cowley of Yarmouth told OnTheWight,
“The decision ignores the 71% of people who objected in the online survey and 2,500 people who signed various petitions against this option.
“Cllr Brading, speaking today on the radio, said that the Governing Body of the Shalfleet and Yarmouth Schools Federation is supportive of his decision, which is incorrect. The Governors of Shalfleet and Yarmouth issued a long well argued statement against the proposal as did the Governing Body of the other Ofsted rated ‘Good’ school St. Saviours.”
Cowley: Governors opposed
He went on to say,
“Governors of both are opposed to this option on educational, social and financial reasons and because it fails to address the need to reduce surplus pupil numbers in the West Wight.
“The consultation has been a farce as Cllr Brading stated that he wanted a new large primary school in the West Wight.”
Brading: “I didn’t say they were supportive or not”
Cllr Paul Brading denies saying the Federation were supportive of the latest recommendations, he told OnTheWight,
“I didn’t say they were supportive or not.
“Initially before the second consultation they indicated support, then put a submission in saying they were not now supportive, which was unexpected.
“A meeting has been held with them this morning by my Senior Officers, at which they were non committal either way in their views, but would discuss it at their next Governing Body meeting this month.
“I would hope and expect that if after the next consultation this is in fact the agreed decision, that they will fully engage and work with us for the benefit of the children.”