The Isle of Wight Council has given its unanimous support to a motion to protect the future of secondary education in Sandown by asking the government to remove Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) from managing any school on the Isle of Wight.

Following AET’s decision to merge Sandown Bay Academy with Ryde Academy, an extraordinary meeting of the Full Council was held yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss the issue. All members present voted to ask the government to remove AET from the role of managing any school on the Island – and to take steps to either establish or promote and encourage the establishment of an accountable new local body to take on the management and running of Sandown Bay Academy.

A number of outline options have already been identified by senior education officers to preserve the school and are being worked on in detail with the Cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Chris Whitehouse, and Council Leader, Councillor Dave Stewart. The options will now be worked into full business cases as a matter of urgency, and progress will be reported back.

Speaking today, Councillor Chris Whitehouse says:

“The unanimous support for this Motion sends a clear and unambiguous message to Ministers, to the Schools Commissioner and to AET, that Sandown wants, needs and should have its own secondary school. We are determined to do all that we can to deliver that.”

In an amendment proposed by Councillor Whitehouse to the original Motion, the Full Council saluted the students of Sandown Bay Academy on their stalwart defence of their school; praised the parents for their passion and perseverance in promoting the need for secondary education in Sandown; welcomed the support from the staff of the school, teaching and non-teaching alike, for the need to resist the proposed merger of the school with Ryde and to end secondary education in Sandown.

Full Council expressed its renewed commitment to do all in its power to ensure that secondary education is retained in Sandown for the students of Sandown Bay Academy and for future generations of local children.

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