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EXECUTIVE TO DISCUSS EDUCATION CONSULTATION

counciltree400UPDATED: The Isle of Wight Council’s Executive will be asked to approve a plan to consult on the future of secondary and post-16 education on the Island, when it meets on 9th December.

Improving educational attainment is a key priority for the council and, subject to the consultation being agreed, the aim is to support the raising of educational standards on the Island and ensure there are the right number of secondary school places, in the right locations to meet the needs of current and future pupils.

The full paper to be discussed by the Executive is available at https://www.iwight.com/Meetings/current/committeeDetail.aspx?cmteId=180.

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The proposals are all based on detailed and robust school places planning data, pupil number projections and future migration to and from the Island. The data includes all publicly-funded schools, including the places that are provided by the Island Free School and Studio School.

For 11 to 16 provision, the options include retention of the six current secondary schools, albeit subject to adjustment to the size of some of those schools, or a merger of Medina College and Carisbrooke College onto the Carisbrooke site, with Cowes Enterprise College, Christ the King College, Sandown Bay Academy and Ryde Academy retained, again with some adjusted sizes.

It must be stressed, however, that the consultation is completely open and there is no closed list of options. Consultees are invited to put forward alternative proposals and any viable options put forward will be considered before any final decisions are made.

The consultation for post-16 also identifies a range of options including retaining the current pattern of sixth form provision, establishing a single sixth form college established to serve the Island, which would work alongside vocational provision offered at the Isle of Wight College, training providers, the independent sector, and, from 2016, the Studio School or alternatives whereby a new sixth form college would replace provision at some of the six secondary schools.

Again the consultation is completely open and consultees are invited to put forward further alternative proposals.

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Executive member for children’s services, said:

“I must stress that members of the Executive are only being asked to decide whether or not to go out to consultation, and not to make a decision at this stage on the future provision of 11 to 16 and post-16 education.

“I appreciate that this will be an emotive subject for all parents across the Island, including those whose children are not yet in secondary education, particularly following the school reorganisation process undertaken previously. However, the position we are currently in necessitates this process in order that the council can continue its determined effort to raise educational standards and improve provision across the Island at all levels.

“Should the consultation be approved, I would encourage everyone, particularly including parents, current and future students, to get involved and have their say to help generate final proposals which will then be considered in 2015.”

If members of the Executive approve the consultation, it should open before Christmas and will run for 12 weeks. Full details will be published once confirmed.

UPDATE @ 16:15 – The Island Innovation Trust have this afternoon issued a statement. The statement, from both headteachers at Medina and Carisbrooke Colleges and on behalf of governors says:

“The Island Innovation Trust and joint Governing Body of Carisbrooke and Medina Colleges are keen to work closely with our partners in Hampshire as well as the Isle of Wight local authority in respect of the consultation on school places. We welcome the proactive stance being taken by the local authority in respect of the surplus places which has caused issues for all the secondary schools on the Island.
“We will be continuing to work closely with the local authority throughout the consultation period in order to ensure that we are doing the best for all the children involved in the education system on the Isle of Wight.
“Trustees, Governors and the Colleges are all very keen to hear the views of our students, parents and staff before formulating the Trust response to the consultation.
“Despite a number of options being available, we are keeping an open mind in relation to the recommendations that may be made. We can categorically state that no decisions have been made and that we are well advanced with our plans to admit an intake of year 7 pupils at both Medina and Carisbrooke Colleges in September 2015.”

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