Thanks to Jeremy Cangialosi who, on behalf of parents and children at Weston Community School, has asked us to share this article with VB readers. In his own words. Ed
Weston Community Primary School in Totland is under threat of closure, because there are currently more places available than there are children to fill them.
However, it is widely reported that an increase in the population of primary aged children would create a demand for such surplus places in the next few years.
The Department for Education states “By 2014, all regions in England are projected to have an increase in their primary aged population . . . Numbers in maintained nursery and primary schools began to rise in 2010 and are expected to continue to rise. By 2017 numbers are projected to reach levels last seen in the late 1970s.”
Different story in six years time
So, on the issue of surplus places, wouldn’t this have been an important factor for the IW Council to have provided information and statistics within the consultation?
That way, parents could explore and form a considered opinion of all relevant and important factors for the proposals being consulted upon.
What about the Government aims of supplying enough good places rather than removing surplus places?
Why close Weston?
It’s clear from looking at all the metrics that Weston is a stronger school than the others in consultation, and yet Weston is the one under threat to close down, how is this fair?
The Council has a duty to maintain diversity of provision, it will not if it closes Weston.
Even if All Saints Primary, nearby, has a change of category to a become a Trust School, there would still not be provision of fair and unbiased secular primary education within this wider rural community.
Council needs to justify its choice?
By attempting to close a rural designated school, against the best interests of provision in the area and with failure to recognise the importance of it’s obligations to raise local standards, not lower them as the case would be, how can the IW Council justify it’s preferred choice to close Weston?
It’s a primary with the best Ofsted in the area, that children are happy attending and have a real opportunity of quality education and development in the future? Weston Governors state, ” Weston is a good school with outstanding features and is very proud of the education it offers”¦.”
Extra travel time for pupils
It is also fair to note unreasonable extension of journey times has been raised as a real concern for those parents who would not want to send their child(ren) to the IW Council’s considered reasonable option, All Saints.
Many parents are potentially faced with the journey by car to primary schools in Newport, what of the IW Council’s Eco-Island Vision?
Children’s education being overlooked by council
Parents feel that long term interests for their children’s education, and their value in our local rural community is being overlooked by the IW Council as it continues to vigorously pursue land deals and short term financial gains.
To help oppose the closure please email your concerns to: Alex Moffat, (principal council officer) before Friday 22nd July 2011 with the email below: [email protected]
Image: © Jeremy Cangialosi