Latest News

VIDEO: ANGER AND DISBELIEF AT HEATED ALL SAINTS PRIMARY SCHOOL MEETING


Over 100 villagers attended a vocal and heated meeting at All Saints Primary School in the West Wight last night (Wednesday).

Faced with Isle of Wight Council proposals to close the only school in the large village of Freshwater, residents came to hear what council officers from Hampshire had to say, including Martin Goff (Head of Information, Transport and Admissions), Richard Vaughan (Deputy Head of Strategic development) and Natalie Smith (School Improvement Manager).

After a short presentation, based on demographic data and Ofsted reports which were queried from the floor, there followed 90 minutes of representations and questions made by parents, governors, councillors, unions, teachers, villagers and church goers. The mood of the meeting was anger and disbelief, with huge cheers and rounds of applause for those who stood up to speak and question the decision by officers to focus on the future of one school, during a consultation on school places for the whole West Wight.

Article continues below this advertisement

Parent of 4, Rachel Dunleavey, spoke out and said that the closure of the school would force all families in Freshwater to walk or drive to any school with free places, adding to traffic congestion in surrounding roads and villages and with concerns for the safety of young children.

“I asked Councillor Brading to walk with me, my buggy and my young children on the proposed school run to Totland where there are no pavements and we would be forced to walk on the road into oncoming traffic. He refused.”

Other comments from the floor included strongly worded support for the school and its teachers, how pupils are showing further improvement, and that recent DfE data on performance puts All Saints pupils 2nd out of the 5 West Wight schools and 9th in the whole of the Isle of Wight.

Carly Wyre-Nock listed a great number of the concerns of the parent body and demanded that the council relook at the premise of their recommendations. She said:

“This is a designated rural school and that has implications… We are not a failing school, we are an improving school! We don’t think it is fair that one person is making this decision, and we feel we are being picked on as a school. This process is not fair and it hasn’t been done fairly.”

Article continues below this advertisement

Governor Dr Catherine Powell added:

“This site is fabulous – it is close to all the public amenities and where children and families live, 95% of whom walk, scoot and cycle to school.”

Cries of ‘Where is Councillor Brading?!’ brought the meeting to a forced end at 20:00, with many hands still up in the air. The next meeting with officers will be at St Saviour’s School in Totland (1st April, 18:00-20:00) and the consultation proceeds until 15th April.

Parents and residents will be protesting outside the meeting of the Isle of Wight Council Full Cabinet meeting in Freshwater at 16:00 today (Thursday).

[<iframe width=”900″ height=”506″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/6iwFwVaG-SA” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen]

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.

3
Comment on this story

avatar
newest oldest most voted
Deborah Pearson
Guest
Deborah Pearson

I often despair at what I feel are ignorant decisions proposed by ill-informed councillors. Our council and councillors should look into the aspects of how such a closure would affect the local community. Freshwater is a large village and the population of young families with school-age children should increase in the short-term future. If steps are taken to ensure increased attainment levels at the school, then I feel sure the school and pupils will thrive. I admire the Freshwater people for taking such a stand against this proposed closure. This school should stay open.

Debby Jones
Guest
Debby Jones

Once again, unfortunately, residents protests and well formed arguments againts closure will be ignored because the council have that land ear-marked for building houses.

Patrick Budden
Guest
Patrick Budden

I can see what the councillors are doing , they are trying to close this school because it has the most useable land which they can sell off. Before you know it the land would be sold and used to build houses on. This is so short sighted, build more houses get more families more families more children but no school to go to . The councillors are not intouch with the real world, they sit in their little office dreaming up ways to make money and haven’t got a clue how ordinary families live their lives. Keep this school open it is a great school my own Son went their and it should be there for the good people of Freshwater, I have heard that the great plan is to centralise all the schools in Newport, can you imagine 5 and 6 year olds busing to Newport to go to school There is more than enough trouble on the buses taking the teens to school now.

data-matched-content-ui-type="image_card_stacked"

News, Traffic & Travel Tweets