Huge plans – which include closing a Freshwater Primary School at the end of the year – have been unveiled by the Isle of Wight Council.
As previously reported by Isle of Wight Radio, the Isle of Wight Council announced it intended to close All Saints’ CE Primary School in Freshwater, due to falling pupil numbers in the area.
A public consultation was held to gather parents’ views and following that, the council has drawn up a series of recommendations.
Now, the council’s preferred option is to close All Saints on December 31 this year — then increase Yarmouth CE Primary School’s pupil admission numbers and relocate Yarmouth to the All Saints’ site.
The Yarmouth school building would then be closed and made available for other uses.
The All Saints school building would be redeveloped to cater for the new pupils.
All Saints had just eight pupils enrolled to start this September, and the council previously said its preferred option was to close it and send the children to the nearby St Saviour’s RC Primary School.
All Saints had been rated as ‘requires improvement’ following its last three Ofsted inspections, and had not been ‘good’ for more than a decade.
However, the plans were met with outrage from parents, who vowed to fight for their school and said the decision would cause travel misery.
During the public consultation, which attracted more than 400 responses, a number of options were put forward.
They included federating All Saints with St Saviours, leaving the school to improve for a year and building a new multi-faith school in the West Wight.
The name of the proposed new school has not been decided.
Cabinet member for children and education, Cllr Paul Brading, said: “Most of the children attending Yarmouth live in the Freshwater community anyway and this would locate their school closer to them.
“If this were to happen, considerable investment would be secured to improve the buildings at All Saints.”
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.
It would also reduce the overall place numbers in the West Wight, but leave room for future growth.
Cllr Brading said government money would be made available for the redevelopment of the All Saints’ site. The leadership team at Yarmouth said they were open to discussions about the plans.
Now, a second consultation will take place, delaying the council’s decision by another term.
The authority had previously proposed closing All Saints at the end of the summer term this year.
The future of the schools will be made by Cllr Brading, using delegated powers.
He said: “I want all children to attend a good school.”
By Megan Baynes.