Campaigners who fought to keep their village school open so that options for its future can be explored are celebrating victory.
The Save our School (SOS) group were opposing plans set out by the Isle of Wight Council, on behalf of the Stenbury Federation, to close Chillerton and Rookley Primary School.
The federation claimed that the closure of the 170-year-old school was necessary to ensure that Godshill Primary, which it also runs, remains viable. The SOS group are developing plans to offer ‘flexible schooling’, an arrangement where children attend school part time but are otherwise home educated.
With the arrival of a new council came a change of heart over closing the school, and this week the Stenbury Federation finally confirmed that the school would open in September.
Cllr Debbie Andre, cabinet member for education, said: “As the newly elected leadership of this council, it is only right and proper that we look at all the issues we have inherited from the previous administration, including the future of Chillerton and Rookley Primary School and Godshill Primary School.
“We want to fully consider all options before deciding the next steps. There will, therefore, be no immediate decision.”
Leading campaigners welcomed the news: Keith Herbert a parent of a child at the school said: “We are so grateful to the new council leadership for delivering on their promises. Ofsted reports state small rural schools give the best possible start in life for children. They are to be cherished and protected.”
Nigel Phillips, chairman of Chillerton and Gatcombe Parish Council added: “The new administration is showing itself able to have a calm and sensible look at the possibilities for our school rather than a gaderine rush to the precipice of closure based on a deeply flawed process that relied on a manufactured situation.” He also thanked the IW Observer for supporting their campaign.
The Stenbury Federation failed to respond for a request for a comment on the future of Godshill Primary School.