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The Diocese of Portsmouth has issued a statement regarding the Isle of Wight Council’s proposals to close All Saints CofE Primary School in Freshwater, relocating pupils and staff to Yarmouth Primary Schol.

As previously reported by Island Echo, the local authority has to address the oversupply of school places in the West Wight area, with 5 schools currently catering for around 90 children per year group — a number which is expected to fall over the coming years.

To help address this, it is proposed to close All Saints’ CE Primary School in Freshwater from 3rd April 2020. Those currently at the school would be moved to an expanded Yarmouth CE Primary School. Then, once new building works have been completed at the former All Saints’ site, Yarmouth Primary would relocate to Freshwater resulting in the closure of the Yarmouth site.

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A spokesperson for the Diocese of Portsmouth has today (Wednesday) said:

“The Diocese of Portsmouth has a high commitment to education which is seen in and through the many church schools on the Isle of Wight. We enjoy working in partnership with pupils, staff, parents, local communities and the local authority in delivering the very best learning experience for the pupils in our schools.

“We acknowledge the opposition to these plans from governors, staff and parents connected with both schools, the level of disruption the current proposals would cause in both school communities, and the lack of practical detail put forward so far.

“However, we also understand the need to reduce surplus school places in West Wight, and the challenge that declining numbers poses for All Saints C of E Primary School in Freshwater in particular.

“We are concerned at the rapid timescales involved in taking these significant decisions. We would welcome the opportunity to work with the local authority and representatives from both schools to ensure that the maximum support and resources are made available to minimise disruption to the pupils and the local communities involved”.

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The Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, the Venerable Peter Leonard, added:

“We are committed to working with all stakeholders in both providing the best possible education for children on the Island and also addressing the particular demographic challenges of the West Wight area and are in conversation with the governing bodies of both schools as well as the local authority.”

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