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A key and successful partnership with Hampshire that has brought major improvements to education and children’s social care on the Island is set to be renewed long-term.

An extension of the 5-year Hampshire link is due to be approved by the council’s Cabinet next week (Thursday 9th November).

The partnership has seen improvements in many areas, including exam results and Ofsted ratings for schools, and in social care standards.

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Councillor Paul Brading, Cabinet member for Children’s Services has said:

“This partnership has without doubt been a major success for the Island, its young people and their families. It has given access to a far wider base of expertise and support and has helped turn around our education and children’s services.

“It’s continuation is at the very heart of our ongoing pledge to deliver the best education we can for our young people, as well as ensuring they can grow up in a safe and happy environment.

“The Conservative administration of the council has set out its strategy for delivering educational excellence; and our partnership with Hampshire is fundamental to successfully achieving that objective.

“I would like to pay tribute to the continuing commitment and dedication of our young people, their families, teachers, schools and school governors – alongside our many professionals on the Island and in Hampshire.”

The Council’s Cabinet meets next Thursday to consider a recommendation to renew the partnership, following consideration by its Scrutiny Committee. The decision is also subject to Hampshire County Council agreement.

Cllr Brading continued:

“The renewal with Hampshire is one of three options being considered by the Cabinet, but is overwhelmingly seen as the way forward by the council’s administration. We are also in very promising ongoing discussions with Hampshire”.

The leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, said:

“We are delighted that this partnership and the expertise and support from Hampshire is making such a significant difference for the young people of the Isle of Wight and their families. There has also been a great deal of pooled experience and knowledge which has given benefit to Hampshire in return.”

The partnership with Hampshire was created in 2013 after the government stepped in and ordered improvements to children’s safeguarding and education services on the Island. The ‘ministerial direction’ from the government currently remains in place until June 2018.

It costs the council £1.3 million a year for the wide range of support from Hampshire, and it is estimated it has given £4.3 million of savings to children’s services between 2014 and 2016.

The report to Cabinet can be viewed via the following link: E.pdf.

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