Hampshire & Isle of Wight

U-turn over Sandown secondary education plans

Sandown Bay Academy
Image caption AET will continue to run the school until a final decision is made by mid-October

Plans to scrap secondary education at Sandown on the Isle of Wight have been "withdrawn", the council has said.

It comes after Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) announced plans in May to close its Sandown Bay Academy and merge it with Ryde.

Isle of Wight Council said Sandown would now either get a new sponsor to take it over, or Bay CE Primary would be expanded.

The AET will continue to run the school until a final decision in mid-October.

The authority said the date would allow parents of Year 6 pupils time to make an informed decision about the school they choose for September 2018 - the admissions round closes on 31 October.

A consultation by the council saw 98% of parents back plans to continue secondary education in Sandown.

The proposed "merger" by AET would mean pupils would have had to travel six miles (10km) to Ryde Academy.

The authority said AET had committed to supporting the Department for Education (DfE) and council plans "by ensuring the best possible provision at Sandown Bay this academic year and an orderly transition" before stepping aside.

The troubled secondary school was rated "inadequate" by Ofsted in July because of "ineffective leadership at all levels".

Sandown Bay Academy - timeline

  • September 2011 - Opens under AET management on the sites of two closed schools in Sandown
  • March 2013 - Rated "inadequate" by Ofsted school inspectors
  • November 2014 - Ofsted rating upgraded to "requires improvement"
  • March 2017 - AET reduces a £850,000 savings target to less than £250,000 "following discussions with the head teacher"
  • April 2017 - Head teacher resigns and the board of governors is replaced
  • May 2017 - AET announces plans to merge the school with Ryde Academy
  • May 2017 - Isle of Wight Council votes to ask the government to oust AET "off the island altogether"
  • July 2017 - Rated "inadequate" by Ofsted again
  • September 2017 - Plan to cease secondary education at Sandown withdrawn

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