There was standing room only at a meeting in Freshwater last night (Tuesday) as the Parish Council met to decide upon their response to the Isle of Wight Council’s proposals to close All Saints Primary School.
Over 60 parents, councillors, villagers, teachers and supporters packed the larger council meeting room to have their say on the possibility that the largest village on the Isle of Wight could be left without a primary school within months.
Residents were outspoken in their views, with concerns about the impact on the children, the extra traffic and the increased numbers in surrounding schools. The entire basis of the closure was queried and questions were voiced about the quality of the documentation, the research and accuracy of statistics used in the Council report.
Yet the meeting was unanimous in its commitment to retain a primary school for the children of Freshwater: there has been a school in the village since 1715.
Parent of 2 boys, Lucy Temple, said:
“It was wonderful to see such support from local residents, businesses and staff from other schools who showed concern about the wider impact on the village. There are significant issues around leaving the final decision in the hands of one elected member (Councillor Brading) when the impact will be felt across the whole of the population of the West Wight.”
Vix Lowthion, Freshwater Parish Councillor and mum of 3 added:
“The West Wight has been ignored by the IW Council for too long: we have already lost 2 schools in the last few years and strategically the Council has offered too few opportunities for investment and employment. Now we have been dealt this huge blow of proposing to close our school – we won’t let this go without a fight!”
The Isle of Wight Council Cabinet will be holding their next meeting at Moa Place on Thursday 14th March and campaigners will welcome all islanders who support the future of schooling in Freshwater to gather outside from 16:30.