Cut Adrift: Film explores Island education system after changes

A non-profit independent film project about educational challenges on the Isle of Wight is being produced. 

The director, Anastasia Wlaschin-Wiest grew up on the Island attending Bishop Lovett Middle School, Medina High School and the Island Innovation Trust Sixth Form and experienced the educational system change from a three to a two tier system.

She returns after finishing university to speak with locals about their experiences of living and learning on the Isle of Wight; she endeavours to examine the community, which supports and surrounds the student experience.

The film focuses on the Island education system and looks at what it is like to grow up here as students and to work here as teachers.

(Left to right) – Peter Shreeve, Local Secretary of the National Education Union, director Anastasia Wlaschin-Wiest – assistant director; Martina Amoretti – Louise Deschamps producer; Allegra Stodolsky director of photography

Headteachers, teachers, students, a local education union secretary and several other local community members were interviewed. They were asked how things could be improved and whether the Island was indeed “cut adrift”.

The director Wlaschin-Wiest said: “We hope the project will provide an insight into some of the challenges facing schools on the Island through the personal account of someone who went through secondary education here – ultimately raising the profile of this issue.

“When it is complete, we are hoping to have a screening on the Isle of Wight – hopefully early next year, as well as to send it to several film festivals across the UK.”

The director and other members of the team spoke with Peter Shreeve, Joint local Secretary of the National Education Union, who said: “It is good to see that ex-students like Anastasia are doing well and can be held up as role-models for those presently attending school.

“However, it is self-evident that some island students have received rather less educational stability than they deserve and there is much that could be changed and improved.

“Bringing all schools under the same system of democratic accountability and support is the vital next step to tackling the fragmentation that has been the mantra of government.

“For example, we need to give the role of providing school places and building new schools back to local authorities and this should be welcomed by the many parents, carers, teachers, school support staff and even schools, which have been failed by the current system and cut adrift.”