In a bid to tackle surplus places in the West Wight, Isle of Wight Council cabinet members have tonight (9th January) approved the closure of All Saints’ Primary School in Freshwater.
The implementation of this decision is subject to the governing body of Yarmouth Primary School taking a decision to relocate their school to the All Saints’ site for the academic year 2021/22.
They are due to make a decision on this relocation on Monday, 13th January following the conclusion of their own consultation.
In recommending the closure of All Saints’ from 31st August 2020, the council said it was protecting the future viability of the remaining four schools in the West Wight amid falling pupil numbers.
Councillor Paul Brading, Cabinet member for Children’s Services, said the decision followed extensive consultation.
“Throughout this whole process our focus has always been on ensuring a high quality, financially robust education offer is provided in the area.
“No recommendation to close a school is taken lightly but the council must look to the needs of the West Wight’s children, not only now, but also long into the future in coming to its final decision about how to address the oversupply of places.
“Five primary schools in the West Wight cannot be sustained — forecast numbers make that very clear.
“I would like to reassure parents and pupils that should this decision be implemented we will do everything we can to make future transitions as smooth as they can possibly be, and that parents will be kept informed at every stage.”
The council must address the oversupply of school places in the West Wight, with five schools currently catering for around 90 children per year group — a number which is expected to fall over the coming years.
Financial stability for four schools
Given schools are largely funded on a per pupil basis, having one less primary school in the area would mean the remaining four are more financially sustainable and will have the resources needed to fund high quality teaching and learning for the children.
The Freshwater site is also due to receive a multi-million-pound investment from the Department for Education. This would see up to 90 percent of the exiting structure demolished and rebuilt and the original historical front of the school remodelled and fully refurbished.
News shared by Isle of Wight council, in their own words. Ed