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A hard-hitting letter to parents from the Chair of Governors of Ryde Academy, Lesley Holmes, has made it clear that neither the Governors of the Academy nor its Principal, Joy Ballard, were consulted prior to the announcement by Academies Enterprise Trust of the proposed merger with Sandown Bay Academy.

The letter makes it clear that Ryde Academy does not believe the proposal is in the best interests of its own pupils or of those at Sandown Bay. Concerns have been raised about how imposing additional significant management responsibility on the Academy’s Principal will affect staff and students and the impact on Ryde’s journey to ‘outstanding’.

As many Islanders have commented, Ryde Academy does not have capacity for students from both schools; the new school building will accommodate a maximum of 1,500. Ryde Academy already has over 1,000 students with a forecast of 1,200 by September 2018.

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Councillor Chris Whitehouse, who leads on education for the Isle of Wight Council, says:

“It is truly shocking that AET would propose such a merger without the professional courtesy of even discussing it with either set of governors or the heads of either school. I agree entirely with every word Ryde Academy’s Chair of Governors says in this letter of complete opposition to the proposal. The sooner it is dropped, the better for the children and staff of both schools.”

The full letter can be downloaded by clicking here and locals can comment on the proposed merger by visiting

Meanwhile a 6-week consultation on the future options for secondary education for the young people of Sandown Bay has been launched by the Isle of Wight Council today (Monday 12th June).

The eagerly anticipated consultation document is available here:

Councillor Whitehouse commented:

“The Isle of Wight Council and the Governing Body of The Bay CE Primary School, Sandown, are asking for local views on two clear options: another academy chain or an all-through school, led by outstanding local people who know the Sandown community and its young people.

“We hope hundreds of people: pupils, parents, staff, governors, residents, will get involved and take this opportunity to shape the future for education in Sandown.”

A series of meetings with key stakeholders and members of the public are being held.

Public Consultation Meetings

 The Bay CE Primary School: Tuesday 20th June

  • Public Meeting 1 – 17:00-18:45
  • Public Meeting 2 – 19:00-20:45

Sandown and Shanklin Rugby Club: Tuesday 27th June

  • Public Meeting 1 – 18:00-19:45
  • Public Meeting 2 – 20:00-21:45

Niton Primary School Monday 3rd July

  • Public Meeting – 17:00-18:45

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