Richard Steele, chair, West and Central Wight branch Labour Party:
The West and Central branch of the Labour Party strongly disagrees with the closure of any school in the West Wight area, but we are especially opposed to the closure of All Saints’ Primary School. 
We found the delegated decision report flawed as is the ‘consultation’ which exists in name only. 
Freshwater is the largest village on the Island and, according to the Island Plan is due to become even larger. 
The report ignores this and ‘lives in hope’ this will not increase pressure on school places. 
Indeed the report is short on facts but long on supposition. 
If the Island Plan has no significance in this debate, then a great deal of money has been wasted — money which could have been spent on, say, education. 
All Saints’ is situated centrally so most parents are able to walk their children to school safely along well-lit roads with wide pavements. 
The Labour Party takes seriously the idea that primary school children should, whenever possible, be able to walk to school safely for both health and environmental reasons — this principle is widely accepted in 2019, but not, apparently, by this council.
The proposed alternative, St Saviour’s, is accessed by narrow unlit lanes with no pavements, which, for those that have to walk is potentially dangerous. 
It is also a substantially longer journey for most All Saints’ parents.
Regarding the school’s academic achievement, the league table results (amazingly unacknowledged in the proposal) show in 2018, All Saints’ was ninth out of all the Island primary schools in reading — regarded by most educationalists as the key skill.
In writing and mathematics the school is average.
Since they have recently appointed an enthusiastic and successful maths specialist, that area can be expected to show improvement in due course. 
The school is, therefore, far from ‘below average’ as has been suggested by the carefully chosen and out-of-context quotes from the Ofsted report.
The delegated decision report is highly subjective and skewed to support a specious argument.
As everyone knows, all school performances vary over time, what is a ‘good’ school one year becomes a ‘poor one’ later and so on. This is such a weak argument for closure and it should be disregarded.
Paragraph 34 of the report looks at the statutory guidance issued by the DfE.
The proposed decision to close All Saints’ fails this guidance in every respect. This is important and alone would render the decision unsafe.

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