Since the Isle of Wight council announced plans to merge Chillerton and Rookley Primary School with Godshill Primary School a group of parents and community members have organised themselves to oppose the closure and to ‘save the school’.
The Chillerton and Rookley parents say they object to the proposed closure on the following grounds.
One: Reassured school would not close
In the view of the parents and community members, they say they believe the Stenbury Federation has “not acted in good faith”.
“Parents were reassured a number of times, in writing, by the Executive Head Teacher that there were no plans to close the school. Parents made decisions regarding their children’s futures based on letters written by a person in a position of trust.
“In June 2020, the pre-school staff at Chillerton and Rookley Primary School were made redundant and the pre-school moved off-site. This was done without any prior engagement or consultation.
“Pupils were told in June, at a time of great anxiety, that they were being transferred to another school in September. Many did not get to say goodbye to their friends.
“The decision regarding the proposed changes will occur after the local council elections. We believe that this is not a coincidence.
“There is no evidence of effort to attract new pupils to the school or explore other options to remain viable.”
Two: Lack of investment
The parents and community members have concerns about the pupil numbers used by the Stenbury Federation in their decision-making.
“In June 2020 all parents were informed via letter that Reception and Year 6 were moving to Godshill School and the pre-school would cease to exist on the Chillerton site. This resulted in parents feeling pressured into removing their children from The Federation altogether or enrolling them at Godshill School to ensure a place.
“There are no new pupils joining because there is currently no pre-school or reception classes on site! The natural succession has been severed by the Federation.
“Our argument is that if the school was effectively run and invested in, it would certainly be viable and have the ability to attract sufficient pupil numbers (as it has previously done).”
Three: Inadequate facilities
The parents and community members also have concerns about what they consider ‘inadequate facilities’ at the school.
“The past two Ofsted reports state that Godshill School requires improvement. Relocating all of the pupils from Chillerton is unlikely to improve this.
“Godshill School is a small site and social distancing, bubbles etc will be difficult if strict Covid-19 restrictions are implemented in the future.
“Parking and traffic around School Crescent is already disruptive and dangerous without additional vehicles during school pick up and drop off.”
Four: Discriminating a rural community
Finally, the parents and community members express their concerns about how the loss of the school will affect the village.
“The site will likely be sold off for holiday homes.
“It is one of very few non-domestic buildings in the area and an important part of the community. For what other reason would people visit Chillerton? It will be just another drive through village
“Closing the school is discriminatory towards rural communities. Chillerton School serves many vulnerable, economically inactive families and non-driving parents who will now have to travel further. If they lived in a town, they would almost certainly be within walking distance of a school.”
Find out more
People have until 19th March 2021 to submit their comments about the planned merger by emailing
For more information, visit the IWC Website.
Response from Governors
News OnTheWight contacted the Co-Chair of Governors for the Federation for a response and we were asked to refer our queries to the Isle of Wight council’s press office.
11.20am 25th February 2021 – Response from Co-Chair of Governors added