An Isle of Wight Primary School says it has been forced to consider changing its hours, after parents raised concerns over safety during “a chaotic” pick-up time.
As previously reported by Isle of Wight Radio, Carisbrooke and Christ the King College both adjusted the time of their school days ahead of the new term.
Scroll for Isle of Wight Radio’s exclusive report.
Parents say there is now a clash between their finishing times and that of Carisbrooke Primary. It means that around 2,525 pupils are making their way home via Wellington Road each day.
The primary school believes this, culminated with the high numbers of buses and parents coming to pick their children up, is causing “chaos”.
It claims some of its pupils have been left feeling “very intimidated” by the “large” number of college groups and students.
Newport mother-of-four, Becky Wilson, has two children at Christ The King College and one at Carisbrooke Primary. She says she fears their safety has now been “compromised” by the changes.
“The school-run is a lot more dangerous then it used to be because with the three schools converging within five minutes of each other it means there is a lot more students all travelling in the same direction…
“Even if my son was in Year Five now and was allowed by the school, there is absolutely no way I would let him walk home. Looking around, the volume of students is just horrendous.”
Carisbrooke Primary says that neither college consulted with them – or each other – before changing their times.
A spokesperson for the school says the colleges have shown a “lack of response or responsibility”:
“When the proposal to change the times became public, we did contact the Principals of both colleges to express our concerns about the inevitable congestion and resulting safety issues.
“Given that the changes went ahead regardless suggests that the concerns were not taken on board.”
Matthew Parr-Burman, Executive Headteacher and Head of Carisbrooke College, admits that the primary school did contact him, but it came too late.
He says his school will not be making any changes:
“Christ the King and Carisbrooke ran completely separate processes with Carisbrooke actually starting earlier in the process of consultation but only by a couple of weeks.
“The primary school did contact us once the decisions had been made but by then we had informed Transport and students and parents so not able to make any changes in any case.
“Due to the notice needed to give to Transport we won’t be changing this school year. It is very early days in my view and what issues there are may well settle down in due course.
“I have personally been down Wellington Road a couple of times this term and yes it is busy but all the students at all three schools seemed to be getting on well enough and there was space to walk up and down the pavements with consideration for others.”
Listen here to Isle of Wight Radio’s exclusive report.
Christ the King College says it wants to find a solution to the problem and has put measures in place in an attempt to solve the problem.
Matt Quinn, Executive Headteacher of Christ the King College, says he is hoping congestion will ease once work is completed at its new building:
“We have put in place a number of measures including staggered departure and offering parents use of the overflow carpark in Taylor Road to relieve the current situation.
“The underlying issue of the large number of students on a narrow pavement at one time will remain, irrespective of the school departure time. We want to work with the Local Authority to find a solution to this.
“Once the building work is completed, it appears that the bus bay outside both schools will no longer be required. If this could be returned to pavement this along with traffic calming and management would increase the area for students and general public considerably.”
The Isle of Wight Council told Isle of Wight Radio that the issue has been long lasting, and that the change in times has neither “helped or hindered”.
It says schools do not have to consult with the local authority before making changes to their days.
Councillor Paul Brading, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education, said:
“Schools can vary their closing times as they want to especially when they’re faith schools or academies. We are talking to all three schools to address a problem that has been raised with us.
“The road has always been a problem with three schools there and I don’t think the changing of times has helped or hindered but it is an issue that has been raised around safety which we will have to take very seriously and we will look into with my officers this week.”
Carisbrooke CE Primary says it will now consult on a new start and finishing time for its pupils.
It is proposing starting registration at 8.40am (with classroom doors opening at 8.30am). The school day would end at 3pm for Years 1-6 (2.50pm for EYFS).
If approved, the new times would come into force after the October half term.