Recently elected Island MP, Bob Seely, has delivered on his election promises by taking a delegation to meet Schools Minister, Lord John Nash, this morning [20th June] at the Department for Education in London to press the case for secondary education to continue to be available in Sandown.
Speaking today, Bob says: “We made a strong case that Sandown needs its own secondary school and explained the plans for an all through 4-16 school led by The Bay CE Primary School. The Minister listened carefully to what we had to say, asked some challenging questions, and made it clear that he is keeping all options open until the results of the public consultation are known. I want to thank Cllr Chris Whitehouse and Mr Brian Pope for their excellent work.”
The delegation also included the new Isle of Wight Council Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Paul Brading, who adds: “We were able to assure the Minister that 98% of those who have responded to our consultation so far have backed the need for Sandown to have its own secondary school, and that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the way AET have been running the Sandown Bay Academy. What we need, though, is more parents, students and members of the local community to respond to the consultation so we can demonstrate to the Minister the strength of feeling on this issue.
The delegation also included Councillor Chris Whitehouse (Conservative, Newport West Ward) and Felicity Roe and Brian Pope, senior officers from Hampshire County Council, who are working on the plans for the future of the school in Sandown. Lord Nash also included Sir David Carter, the National Schools Commissioner, and Dominic Herrington, the School’s Regional Commissioner for South London and the South East, who are responsible for the academy programme, in his team.
Bob Seely adds: “We left the Minister and his colleagues in no doubt that ending secondary provision in Sandown would create intolerable journey times for pupils to attend other schools, would incur costs of £1 million every year in bussing the children around the Island, and would jeopardise educational outcomes across the Island with the disruption it would cause. We will continue to make our case on behalf of the Sandown community."
Councillor Whitehouse adds: “Bob Seely did the parents and children of Sandown proud in getting us a meeting so soon after the General Election. There’s every chance our plan will succeed if everybody who wants secondary education in Sandown pulls together to get more consultation responses completed.”
The Isle of Wight Council’s consultation survey can be found here: