The Isle of Wight Council have started an informal consultation on whether to close Chillerton and Rookley Primary School, with pupils to be offered a place at Godshill Primary School if the school does close.
The exercise is being undertaken at the request of the Stenbury Federation which runs both schools, and says that the future of both is at stake due to ‘budget constraints and falling numbers on roll’.
Chillerton and Rookley School currently has 35 pupils, while Godshill School has 61 empty spaces, meaning there is sufficient space for all pupils at Godshill. Both schools are currently judged by Ofsted as needing improvement.
The informal process lasts until March 19, when the council will decide whether to move to a formal consultation for the school to close in August this year. Chillerton and Rookley is designated as a rural school by the government, which means that there is a presumption against it closing, and the IW Council will have to show that it has fully considered such issues as the long-term impact of closure on the local community and the loss of the building as a community facility.
Paul Brading, the IW Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “The governing body of the Stenbury Federation have written to the council asking us to facilitate for them a six week informal consultation to seek views on their proposal to consider the merging of their two primary schools, Chillerton & Rookley, and Godshill, onto the larger Godshill site. I would encourage anyone with a comment to make to do so via the council’s website.”
A spokesman for the National Association of Small Schools said: “Across the UK inspectors report that the curriculum in small schools is broad, balanced and relevant and such schools are good or better value for money. Supposed disadvantages – small numbers of staff and children, mixed age and ability teaching, old buildings, fewer resources, have never been proved to be true. The hard, factual evidence shows that in good professional hands, with teachers and parents on the same wavelengths, these are real advantages, closer to the way learning happens at home and in everyday life and work.”
You can find out more at iow.gov.uk/Residents/schools-and-learning/Schools/School-Consultation or give your views by email to SandLBusinessSupport@iow.gov.uk.