Two headlines caught my attention in last week's edition (CP, 04-02-22).

Village school still looks set for closure, and More funding needed in schools.

Both articles carry welcome content, but the number of school places exceeding demand in certain parts of the Isle of Wight remains an issue.

This is partly because of the drop in births to a level which is expected to be sustained and partly as a result of the continuing increase in home-schooling, among other reasons.

While I agree that we should always be pressuring central government for proper recognition of Isle of Wight needs, particularly for those of our children who have special education needs and/or live in deprived circumstances, surely we would strengthen our case if we made much better use of the resources we have already, and demonstrated it accordingly?

That would mean closing surplus capacity, not just in West Wight and Chillerton and Rookley (these are no-brainers), but in other key areas.

This could have a significant positive impact on school finances and spread scarce resources (such as top quality teachers and leaders) much more effectively.

The local authority declines to take a pragmatic strategic view because politicians do not have the appetite to explain the reality to Island residents when it means risking losing votes as the loud minority of parents inevitably make a big noise in defending the status quo, even when this may not be in the best interests of Island children and young people as time goes by.

This needs an open, honest and informed debate in my view.

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