FRESHWATER Parish Council has thrown its weight behind the latest proposal by the Isle of Wight Council to keep a primary school in the village.

The Isle of Wight Council originally proposed closing All Saints' CE Primary School in Freshwater as a way of dealing with falling student numbers in the West Wight.

The plan was to move the All Saints' pupils to nearby St Saviours.

However, after parents objected, a new plan was put forward — to temporarily close All Saints' and transfer the 81 children to Yarmouth CE Primary School.

The Yarmouth school would then be closed around a year later, and relocated to an extensively refurbished All Saints site.

READ MORE: West Wight divided as debate over Yarmouth and Freshwater schools turns 'vicious'

Freshwater Parish Council has announced support for this plan.

A spokesperson for the parish council said: "We are pleased that the recent report acknowledges the need to keep a primary school in Freshwater — the largest village in the West Wight with almost 6,000 residents.

"Freshwater’s All Saints' School is the only school in the government’s Priority School Building Programme Two — and millions of pounds of capital funding for the children of the West Wight will be lost if the Freshwater site permanently closes.

"In addition, the retention of the All Saints' site will rebalance primary school capacity towards the communities where most people live, enabling more pupils to walk or cycle to school and the investment of funds to establish a new, energy efficient building in the heart of the village, fit for education in the 21st century.

"We appreciate that no village wishes to see a school closed, but, with the right support, educational standards and school management can, and must be, reformed and improved.

"A geographically central site, once closed and sold, cannot be brought back."

Anne Bamford, chair of Freshwater Parish Council, said: “The proposal of a new school with low energy costs is clearly what is needed for the future generations in our village and represents a substantial investment in our area.”

However, since the announcement of this plan, the Yarmouth community has launched a campaign to ‘Keep Yarmouth School in Yarmouth’ and revert to the original proposals.

Yarmouth Town Council and Shalfleet Parish Council both support keeping Yarmouth School in Yarmouth, because, they say, the current preferred option is too disruptive of local children’s education, does not address the issue of surplus school places and is not value for money.

Yarmouth Town Council and Shalfleet Parish Council said in a joint statement: "The parents of Yarmouth pupils and the community of Yarmouth have run a very positive campaign to secure the future of Yarmouth School.

"They have based the campaign on sound educational grounds and a positive analysis of the number of school places, demonstrating that a large school in Freshwater will have a negative effect on the three Ofsted rated ‘good’ schools of St Saviours, Shalfleet and Yarmouth.

"Small schools have an excellent record educationally and in delivering a caring, enriching environment.

"With the predicted school population drop, those three ‘good’ schools will fulfil future need."