Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight school merger backed despite 'vile' rivalry

Yarmouth Primary School Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Yarmouth parents campaigned against plans to move their school to Freshwater

Plans to merge two primary schools have been recommended by a council that condemned the behaviour of some parents in rival school closure campaigns.

Isle of Wight Council said All Saints' Primary School in Freshwater would close in August 2020, with children moved to Yarmouth Primary School.

Both schools would then relocate permanently to Freshwater in 2021.

Councillor Paul Brading said he had been "disgusted" by online attacks between rival campaigners.

Image caption All Saints' parent Carly Wyre-Nock said attacks on social media had been "really stressful"

The council said it had recommended the changes at a cabinet meeting on Thursday because of surplus places in West Wight.

It said five schools were catering for about 90 children per year group - a number which it said would fall further.

All Saints' parent Carly Wyre-Nock said the relocation was "fantastic for Freshwater".

"There are lots of families in the village that don't have transport, that don't have the money to be able to get on a bus and drive," she said.

'Bad atmosphere'

"People who attend Yarmouth School... still have the choice to drive.

"There's been things on social media saying not very nice things about our children and about our families. It's been really stressful."

Yarmouth parent Ieuan Jehu said: "There has been some bad atmosphere on social media. It's troubling and it's upsetting."

Mr Brading, head of of education at the council, said: "There have been some pretty spiteful comments said, which has disgusted me really. Some of the things that have been said have been vile."

The authority said the Freshwater site was due to receive a "multi-million-pound investment" from the government to "improve or replace" the buildings, before pupils from both schools are relocated there.

Yarmouth school's governors previously dropped a legal challenge against the relocation.

A final decision is due to be made in January.

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