Save our school — that’s the heartfelt plea from pupils and parents at a West Wight school threatened with closure.
All Saints’ Primary CE School in Freshwater — which has just eight pupils enrolled to start this September — could close its doors for good this summer due to falling student numbers in the area.
Closing the school and expanding St Saviour’s RC Primary School in nearby Totland is the Isle of Wight Council’s preferred option to deal with falling student numbers in the West Wight.
No formal decision to launch consultation
However, cabinet member for education, Cllr Paul Brading, said the formal decision to launch a consultation had not yet been made, and the final decision would not be taken until June.
Cllr Brading said:
“If I decided to launch a consultation, I would welcome comments from all parents.”
Parents: “Children are thriving”
Parents say their children are thriving at the school and have vowed to fight any plans to close it.
Kerry Ring, who moved her daughter to All Saints’ from St Saviour’s Primary School, said:
“I was gutted.
“The school is closer, she can ride her scooter every day. I have got another two children due to come here and I don’t drive.
“I think the council need to be a bit more sensitive with the issue, because they don’t seem to be bothered. The kids are thriving here.”
Seven-year-old Willow Nock said:
“I like this school because I have friends here.
“Why does this school have to close?”
Increase in traffic
Parent, Lucy Temple, said a change of school would mean more cars on the road during rush hour traffic.
“It would mean I have to get in a car every day instead of walking. There’s no safe route to walk. Traffic is already an issue in the area and that’s only going to exacerbate that.”
Bus timetable would need to change
Parents also said the current bus timetable would result in children being late for school if they had to catch the 8.30am bus from Freshwater.
Rachel Dunleavey, who has two children at the school, said:
“I don’t think this school should close.
“It’s the largest out of the schools, with the most capacity. I think it could take on other children from other areas. It has so much to offer that isn’t always seen.
“My son wouldn’t go in the pool when we arrived here, but now he’s a confident swimmer.”
Brading: “Final decision will be mine”
All Saints’ was rated ‘requires improvement’ at its last three Ofsted inspections, and has not been judged ‘good’ for more than a decade.
Cllr Brading said:
“The final decision will be mine.
“A number of parents have contacted me saying they would welcome a consultation taking place.
“I encourage them all to be involved if we do go ahead with it.”
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed