Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight council-run school plan gets government approval

Sandown Bay Academy
Image caption AET said the school's academic performance was "very weak"

A plan to close an Isle of Wight academy to create a new council-run school, has been given government approval.

The Department for Education has backed Sandown Bay Academy's takeover and the plan to merge it with a primary school.

Its operator, Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), blamed a decrease in pupil numbers for falling income.

Isle of Wight Council said there would be a "smooth transition" for pupils at the new The Bay school.

AET, which also runs Ryde Academy, previously said income at Sandown Bay dropped by £5m in five years because of a "rapid fall" in pupil numbers.

It also described the school's academic performance as "very weak" and said it lacked teachers and resources.

Under the merger plan, the Bay Church of England Primary School will become an all-through school catering for students aged 4-16.

Isle of Wight children's services councillor Paul Brading said the school was on an "exciting journey".

"A considerable amount of work has already taken place to shape the curriculum, staffing, and budget; and that will now be taken forward at pace."

The new school is due to open on 1 September 2018.

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 - Isle of Wight Council votes to ask the government to oust AET "off the island altogether"
  • October 2017 - DfT agrees in-principle closure of the academy, paving the way for a new council-run school

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