MORE than 100 villagers attended a ‘vocal and heated’ meeting to discuss the future of a Freshwater primary school.

The future of All Saint’s Primary School remains in doubt as the Isle of Wight Council announced its preferred option to deal with falling student numbers in the West Wight would be the closure of the school and expansion of nearby St Saviour's RC School.

Council officers, including head of information, transport and admissions Martin Goff, deputy head of strategic development, Richard Vaughan, and school improvement manager, Natalie Smith, met with parents and residents to discuss their concerns.

After a short presentation, 90 minutes of representations and questions were made by parents, governors, councillors, unions, teachers, villagers and church-goers.

Freshwater parish councillor, Vix Lowthion, said the mood of the meeting was ‘anger and disbelief’ with cheers for those who stood up to defend the school.

Parent-of-four, Rachel Dunleavey, said the closure of the school would add to traffic congestion in the area.

She said: “I asked Cllr Brading to walk with me, my buggy and my young children on the proposed school run to Totland where there are no pavements and we would be forced to walk on the road into oncoming traffic. He refused.”

Another parent, Carly Wyre-Nock, said the decision was unfair, and would have damaging implications.

She said: “We are not a failing school, we are an improving school. We don’t think it is fair that one person is making this decision, and we feel we are being picked on as a school. This process is not fair and it hasn’t been done fairly.”

Governor Dr Catherine Powell said: “This site is fabulous — it is close to all the public amenities and where children and families live, 95 per cent of whom walk, scoot and cycle to school.”

Parents and residents will be protesting outside the meeting of the Isle of Wight Council’s cabinet tonight in Freshwater, from 4pm.

A consultation into the issue closes on April 12.

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