As reported by OnTheWight on Tuesday this week, the future of schools in the West Wight may now come down to a decision made by a governing body.
In the latest twist in the West Wight schools saga, the Isle of Wight Council cabinet next week will discuss whether to ‘discontinue’ All Saints’ CE Primary School with the idea to move Yarmouth CE Primary School to Freshwater — in a move it says will secure long-term educational and financial stability for West Wight schools.
New build funding: ‘Very positive discussions’
The council has said the Freshwater school site would be subject to a multi-million-pound investment from the Department for Education — which would see almost all the existing buildings demolished and rebuilt with the historic front of the school remodelled and fully refurbished, commencing this summer.
Although the funding has not yet been secured, the council is engaged in ‘very positive discussions’ about the project.
In the hands of the governnors
However, the council does not have the power to give direction to voluntary-aided Yarmouth Primary and the decision to relocate the school is in the hands of the governors of the school — who will make their decision four days after the council.
Should that happen, the council said the well-being of all pupils and their families affected by the changes would be its primary concern.
Threat of a judicial review
The council faced the threat of a judicial review in the summer, halting a previous consultation, which challenged its power to implement the relocation of Yarmouth.
Following a public notice published in October, with a subsequent consultation period, seeking to close All Saints’ from 31st August 2020, council officers have offered their support to the governors of Yarmouth to undertake a consultation.
The consultation run by Yarmouth will finish on 10th January.
Governors will be making the final decision on Monday 13th January.
A similar consultation was run by the council which received mixed results.
A total of 16 objections were received about closing All Saints’, with one supporter. Twenty-five responses were concerned with or objected to the relocation of Yarmouth, with three supporters and 16 responses alternatively proposing to close or relocate Shalfleet CE Primary.
Hastings: Support for recommendation
Cllr Steve Hastings, cabinet member and ward representative for central Wight, said the ‘recommendation is to close Yarmouth School and build a new school on the All Saints site’, which he will support, in a community magazine.
After cabinet makes its decision and if Yarmouth governors do not decide to relocate the school, the council will either close Yarmouth, keeping All Saints’ open or close both schools and build a new academy subject to further consultation.
If governors relocate the school, two implementation groups will be formed to work with each school and set of governors to ensure standards are maintained and the transition of pupils is as seamless as possible.
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