The Diocese of Portsmouth says it welcomes the chance to work with the Isle of Wight Council, but acknowledges the disruption likely to be caused by changes to schools in the West Wight.

The local authority has been consulting on plans to tackle surplus places. Its current preferred option is to close Freshwater’s All Saints primary in April 2020 and move pupils to Yarmouth Primary. It then proposes moving both school communities to a refurbished All Saints site in 2021.

At a meeting of leading Cabinet Members tomorrow (Thursday), that is the proposal that will be recommended.

Another consultation will need to take place before the decision is finalised. As Isle of Wight Radio previously reported, All Saints has filled thirteen places in its reception class from September.

The Diocese says it understands the need to reduce surplus school places and the challenge that declining numbers poses for All Saints C of E. It says it is concerned at the “rapid timescales” involved and would “welcome the opportunity to work with the local authority and representatives from both schools to ensure that the maximum support and resources are made available to minimise disruption to the pupils and the local communities”.

The Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, The Venerable Peter Leonard said,

“We are committed to working with all stakeholders in both providing the best possible education for children on the Island and also addressing the particular demographic challenges of the West Wight area and are in conversation with the governing bodies of both schools as well as the local authority.”

In a letter sent to parents on Friday, the Governors of Shalfleet and Yarmouth Federated Primary schools strongly reaffirmed their rejection of the current proposal.