‘People power works’ says deputy leader over plans to close Yarmouth School

The deputy leader of the Isle of Wight council has told his residents that he will vote against the plan to close Yarmouth School and says “People power works”.

Stuart Hutchinson

Plans to close Yarmouth Primary School and relocate it to Freshwater have been branded ‘quite foolish’ by the deputy leader of the Isle of Wight Council.

Cllr Stuart Hutchinson, who is also the ward member for the West Wight, spoke at Yarmouth Town Council’s annual meeting yesterday, where the controversial plans were the subject of a heated debated.

Vote against plans
He promised residents he would vote against the plans when they are brought before cabinet.

Although the decision to reorganise schools in the West Wight could be the subject of a delegated decision, member for education Cllr Paul Brading has told senior cabinet members it will be put to the cabinet for a vote.

Hutchinson: “People power works”
Cllr Hutchinson, cabinet member for finance, said:

“We have a really good school and I don’t think we should sacrifice that because the people in Freshwater have said, ‘we have got a rotten school but we do not want it closed’.

“People power works. They had the numbers, and we are a much smaller community.”

Members of the public expressed concerns at the plans, which would see All Saints’ Primary School in Freshwater close, with the 81 pupils transferring to Yarmouth.

Another move to All Saints
The Yarmouth school would then be closed, and relocated to an extensively refurbished All Saints site.

Yarmouth resident Helen Jones said:

“We can’t expand anymore. We have expanded until we are bursting.

“That would be a crazy learning environment — it will be crowded, there will be mobile buildings and toilets. Our infrastructure cannot take it.”

Only seven pupils live in town
Only seven out of 91 students attending Yarmouth CE Primary School live in Yarmouth, with 69 travelling from Freshwater.

The council said the plans would retain primary provision in Freshwater and, with Yarmouth, retain a school rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

However, residents of Yarmouth accused the council of ‘stealing the excellent teachers and staff’ at the school and moving them to Freshwater.

Will “damage an entire cohort of children”
Former teacher Jill Cowley added:

“I was teaching on the Isle of Wight last time a major change was made. I can assure you that moving children to another school damages them entirely.

“We are being asked to damage an entire cohort of children.”

Cowley: Will lose beating heart of community
Residents voiced concerns that the community link with Yarmouth would be lost if the school were to move.

Mayor for Yarmouth, Cllr Steve Cowley, said:

“We will lose the beating heart of this community.

“The children won’t be brought back for the pancake races, the duck races.”

Yarmouth the school of choice
Parent Hannah Byers said:

“I have chosen to be a part of the Yarmouth community.”

Extra workload for staff
Concerns were also raised about the parking provision at the All Saints site, and the additional workload it would create for the headteacher, staff and governing body.

A further meeting to discuss the plans will be held tonight (Wednesday), at Yarmouth Primary School, at 6pm.

Petition to save the school
A petition to ‘Keep Yarmouth School in Yarmouth’ has been circulated by parents and members of the community.

It can signed via the Change.org Website.

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

Image: © With kind permission of Allan Marsh

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4 Comments on "‘People power works’ says deputy leader over plans to close Yarmouth School"

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Strange how this councillor protests when cuts are on his own doorstep, yet he is perfectly happy as the cabinet member for finance to oversee the drastic cuts made in every corner of the council’s crumbling empire. What’s the term I am looking for?

Benny C
Oh dear, another dire example of the impact of this hapless, ineffective Council. Stop politicking and start delivering. Or clear off please, stop saying things if you can’t control events, or control yourself. Voting is pointless unless you make a difference. You aren’t doing that. It’s just words. If you had the powerful argument, you’d win this. Show some strategy and ability, please. This individual is a… Read more »

Don’t be taken in by this…. this is what they do ! The local conservative councillor will say they are against it to save face then the rest will vote it through taking the heat away from the local conservative member.

I don’t know who cobbled the IWC consultation survey together, but the effort put in (very little) probably reflects the lack of interest the council has in anybody’s views. I can only assume that the survey is put out because there is a legal requirement to do so. More money down the drain from a council that is not interested in listening to anyones views other than… Read more »