A historic covenant, that it was hoped would save an Isle of Wight primary school threatened with closure, may not be the answer campaigners are hoping for, the Isle of Wight Council has said.

The authority’s leading cabinet members have approved a 6-week consultation on the future of Chillerton and Rookley Primary School and one of the options is its closure.

From 1st November, the options to be consulted on are:

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  • Leave both schools open and federated.
  • Amalgamate Chillerton and Rookley Primary School with Godshill Primary School and close the former.
  • Amalgamate Chillerton and Rookley with Godshill abd close the latter.
  • Seek an academy/free school sponsor for Chillerton and Rookley and, if successful, defederate the school from the Stenbury Federation.
  • Defederate Chillerton and Rookley from the Stenbury Federation and re-form it as a stand-alone primary school.
  • Seek another local maintained school to federate with Chillerton and Rookley.
  • Set up provision for flexi-schooling on the Chillerton and Rookley site to sit alongside full-time provision.

Council officers have not ruled out receiving other viable suggestions for the school’s future.

The Stenbury Federation, which runs the school, approached the council in January, to request Chillerton and Rookley and Godshill Primary School be amalgamated with Godshill Primary.

A Save Our School campaign has been fighting that proposal and found a covenant on the Land Registry that it says ties the site to use as a primary. Campaign spokesperson, Keith Herbert, previously said he had spoken to 3 property law experts who agreed that use of the land was restricted.

However, Councillor Debbie Andre, the Isle of Wight Council’s education lead, told Monday’s meeting she had been advised the covenant alone ‘would not prevent the school from being closed’. She said the site must be used for education, not the building. In May, one of Cllr Andre’s first moves was to defer the public consultation. She said the new administration that runs County Hall wanted to be ‘absolutely sure’ it had listened to all sides.

Pupil numbers have steadily dropped at Chillerton and Rookley Primary, with only 22 children on roll at the start of the 2021 autumn term, compared to its capacity to teach 91. The school is also facing funding budget challenges with a forecast deficit in 2022/23 of £118,057. Its sister school, Godshill, also faces a deficit of under £100,000 by 2022/23, reduced it from £136,052 in the 2020/21 school year.

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Following the consultation, a report will be presented to the council’s cabinet in the spring and the next step will be considered.

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1 month ago

Maybe all the people that want to keep it can pay the short fall in funding????

Na thought so. When it’s someone else’s money they love to spend.


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