Yarmouth CE Primary School will relocate to the All Saints Primary School site in Freshwater from September 2021, it has been announced.
At an extraordinary meeting last night (Monday), the Governing Body of the Federation of Shalfleet and Yarmouth Church of England Primary Schools considered a proposal to move Yarmouth CE Primary School to Freshwater. The governors unanimous agreed to move Yarmouth Primary to Freshwater in September 2021.
After the Local Authority’s withdrawal of its Statutory Notice in August 2019, as previously reported, the LA met with the Governing Body to discuss strategic school place planning in West Wight. They confirmed that it was their policy to seek to reduce the number of schools in the area from 5 to 4 in order to use available funds more efficiently to achieve educational excellence and financial
stability for the remaining schools in the area.
Following this meeting, the Governing Body has been on a journey to clarify the Local Authority and Diocese of Portsmouth positions with regard to school places in the area and how the process could be managed and funded. During this time, the governors have also engaged with staff, parents/carers and other interested parties.
Ahead of last night’s meeting The Diocese agreed with the Local Authority’s strategic view of place planning for the area and gave written consent to move Yarmouth CE Primary School to the All Saints’ site in Freshwater.
In the light of all the representations made to the governors by staff, parents/carers and other interested parties and in the context of the policy decisions made by the LA and the Diocese, the Governing Body felt that they had the relevant information available to be able to make a choice with regard to the future location of Yarmouth CE Primary School last night.
The decision to move the school is subject to the sign off of a Priority Schools Building Programme 2 investment or an equivalent substantial Local Authority Capital Grant to ensure the premises are fully fit for purpose.
A spokesperson for the Governing Body has said:
“We believe that securing the future of our high quality staff team will enable them to deliver excellent, stable education for all pupils now and in the future in this new location. It is closer to where most of our children live. And, because our decision is conditional upon the investment in a new building being confirmed, we are confident that future pupils will be taught in a school that is fully fit for purpose for learning in the 21st century.
“We now look forward to working with the Local Authority, the Diocese, staff, parents/carers and other interested parties on an appropriate transition process to make this a positive experience for all, but most importantly the children who are at the centre of all we do.
Councillor Paul Brading, Cabinet member for children’s services, said:
“The council has fully considered the implications of it supporting a decision by the governing body of Yarmouth Primary School to relocate to the Freshwater site and fully believes supporting this move is the positive way forward.
“It ensures a strong, sustainable and robust educational offer is provided in the area’s largest community and secures a multi-million pound capital investment opportunity that will benefit children, their learning and the wider Island economy.
“The key focus must now be on supporting, through the very best transition arrangements, all those impacted by the two decisions recently taken.
“I would like to reassure parents and pupils that we will do everything we can to make all transitions as smooth as they can possibly be, and that we are committed to working closely with the schools to develop a robust communications strategy to ensure parents are kept informed of progress at every stage in the process.
“I would particularly like to reassure the parents of All Saints’ children that nothing has changed for them with regards to their choice of schools following this decision.
“During the transition period, arrangements will be in place to enable All Saints’ pupils to stay on and become Yarmouth Primary School pupils, if that is the parents’ choice.
“It remains our priority to ensure all schools secure high attainment and we continue to work with the schools in the West Wight to provide the individual support they need.
“The council has been clear throughout the consultations it has undertaken and the reports it has produced that its aim is to provide long-term sustainability to primary education in the area and, that it is of the very highest quality.
“To take no action to manage surplus capacity in the West Wight was not an option. To do nothing would have put at risk all the schools across the area, due to falling numbers and budget pressures. I would be failing in my role if I just ignored this, and I was not prepared to do that.
“The council also remains committed to working with the Yarmouth community and Portsmouth and Winchester Diocese to consider how when it becomes available, the Yarmouth school site can be re-purposed to again play an active role in the area.”