Declining pupil numbers at Weston Academy in Totland, West Wight has led to the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP, agreeing in principle to the closure of the village primary school at the end of this autumn term (31st December 2015).
The news follows a period of careful consideration by the Department for Education (DfE) and Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) to secure a successful way forward for every child. Pupil numbers at Weston Academy have been decreasing over the last few years and the current number on roll is just 56. With numbers forecast to remain low it will become increasingly challenging to sustain the educational improvements in the future.
The DfE and AET have been working with Isle of Wight Council officers to ensure that in the event of closure there will be a smooth transition to local schools where there are sufficient places for every child. Parents and carers of Weston pupils will be written to individually by Isle of Wight Council officers in the week beginning Monday 28 September and invited to state preferences for alternative local primary schools.
Parents and carers are invited to attend a meeting at 15:45 until 17:00 on Thursday (24th September) at the school where representatives of the DfE, AET and Isle of Wight Council officers will be present to discuss the way forward. They are also invited to submit their views on the proposed primary closure to [email protected] by 7th October 2015.
A staff consultation period will run from Tuesday 22nd September until Monday 19th October. In the event of closure every effort will be made, working in close cooperation with Isle of Wight Council, to seek alternative employment on the Island.
Ian Comfort, Group CEO for Academies Enterprise Trust, said:
“Although there have been significant improvements in the quality of education at Weston Academy over the past school year the current low pupil numbers and the forecast figures will make this increasingly difficult to maintain in the future. The crucial issue is to ensure that the right decision is made now to ensure that every child has the best possible opportunities to succeed and achieve high standards”.