Academies Enterprise Trust, the sponsors of Sandown Bay Academy who plan to merge the school with Ryde Academy, are ‘talking tosh and twaddle’ in their latest statement about pupil numbers and school finances according outspoken Councillor Chris Whitehouse, who leads on education policy for the Conservatives on the Isle of Wight Council.
Responding to Thursday’s statement from AET that the school is ‘not sustainable’ and is ‘unviable’ due to falling pupil numbers, Councillor Whitehouse says:
“AET have based their calculations on the past reductions in pupil numbers, but we know from the data of the children in our primary schools that there are more than enough children in the area to sustain a good school on that site. What’s more, the numbers are set to rise over the next few years. AET have used the wrong data and are talking tosh on pupil numbers.
“When it comes to funding AET are correct that money is largely dictated by pupil numbers, so if they’ve got the potential pupil numbers wrong, they’ve inevitably calculated the funds wrongly and are talking twaddle when they say the school is unviable”.
“Senior officers from Hampshire, who oversee the Island schools, are now urgently producing an options paper for the Leader of the Council, Cllr Dave Stewart, and me to consider, so that we can make good on our commitment that we will continue to deliver secondary education in Sandown on the Academy site”.
Cllr Whitehouse has encouraged parents to keep up the pressure and not to panic saying:
“We want AET out of Sandown Bay Academy. We’ve already identified at least four options for continuing secondary education on that site and will be exploring all avenues. I personally salute the campaign of students, parents and staff over the last week or so and encourage them not to lose heart or momentum.
“A good school in Sandown would have more than 1,000 students. There are plenty of schools that size around the country that are delivering good education and are perfectly financially viable”.