GOVERNORS have made their final decision on the future of Yarmouth Primary School today (Tuesday).

Following a two-month consultation period, governors from The Federation of the Church Schools of Shalfleet and Yarmouth have announced they are willing to relocate the CE school to Freshwater — agreeing with the Isle of Wight Council's plans.

In a statement read out by chair of the Governors, Carla Bradshaw, she said the governors unanimously agreed 'to take the opportunity to move Yarmouth to Freshwater in September 2021'.

She said: "We believe that securing the future of our high quality staff team will enable them to deliver excellent, stable education for all pupils now and in the future in this new location.

"Because our decision is conditional upon the investment in a new building being confirmed, we are confident that future pupils will be taught in a school that is fully fit for purpose for learning in the 21st century."

Read more: Decision made — Yarmouth Primary to close and move to Freshwater

Question marks have been hovering over the future of schools in the West Wight since talks started in March last year to reduce the number of primary schools in the area from five to four — also reducing the number of surplus pupil places.

Now, with the governors' announcement, the Council's decision can finally come to fruition of securing long-term education in the West Wight after a decision to shut All Saints CE Primary in Freshwater at the end of this school year, was unanimously agreed at a Cabinet meeting last week.

Read more: Isle of Wight Council bosses approve closure of All Saints Primary School

The Council does not have the legal power to close Yarmouth, but with the governors' approval, the school will move to Freshwater after 'the biggest investment the West Wight has ever seen' — a £5.5 million refurbishment of the All Saints site.

However, the funding is not yet secured — although it is thought to be in the final stages of procurement — the governing body will want to see proof the funding has been granted before physically moving the school.

Read more: West Wight schools future to go before Isle of Wight cabinet — but governors have a big decision to make

Ieuan Jehu, a parent at Yarmouth Primary said the decision from the council and the governors 'are hugely upsetting' for his family.

He said: "I have always opposed this proposal because of the impact it will have on my son and all of the children of the West Wight.

"Now the governors have chosen to move ahead with what they previously condemned as against the interests of the children currently on roll, it causes me to question if I can ever again trust them to do what is best for my son and the other children in their care.

Read more: ''It's wrong, completely wrong' — Yarmouth parents protest to save their school from closure

Freshwater Parish Councillor, Cllr Vix Lowthion, said Freshwater deserves the new multi-million pound school fit for the 21st century.

She said: "There is no easy solution to the situation in West Wight Schools and for the governors at Yarmouth it must have been incredibly difficult to come to the decision to relocate the school out of the town.

"It is now critical that the local authority implement a clear strategy for the transition of teachers and pupils between these schools, to reassure that places are available whilst a new school is being built.

"Now is not the time for finger pointing and scaremongering, but clear heads and a process to make this move a success.

"From all this heartache there will eventually be an exciting benefit for the whole community, and I look forward to being involved in all these plans."

Carly Wyre-Nock, a parent at All Saints, said she is really pleased with the governors' decision as it keeps education in Freshwater.

She said: "It is a really good compromise and the governors have shown today they recognise all children in the West Wight and all the attributes and all the qualities of having their school in freshwater.

"The investment will be amazing — you only have to look at Gurnard Primary School, the changes that were made there — to have that in Freshwater will be phenomenal.

"The decisions have been made, if you are not happy do not take to social media — lets start working together and get the best outcome for our children.

"There is no point trying to fight this let us work together and give our children the best opportunity with an outstanding school, not just good."

Read more: 'A lot of comments have been vile' — Councillors criticise social media posts as controversial West Wight school plans approved

Going forward, the council will launch two implementation groups — one working with the staffs and governors at Yarmouth and another at All Saints — and will include council officers as well.

The groups will try to reduce the risks associated with the changes while maintaining the levels of teaching already achieved also providing advice focusing on the wellbeing of all pupils and their families.

UPDATE: Cabinet member for children's services, Cllr Paul Brading, said: "The council has fully considered the implications of it supporting a decision by the governing body of Yarmouth Primary School to relocate to the Freshwater site and fully believes supporting this move is the positive way forward.

"It ensures a strong, sustainable and robust educational offer is provided in the area’s largest community and secures a multi-million pound capital investment opportunity that will benefit children, their learning and the wider Island economy.

"The key focus must now be on supporting, through the very best transition arrangements, all those impacted by the two decisions recently taken.

"I would like to reassure parents and pupils that we will do everything we can to make all transitions as smooth as they can possibly be, and that we are committed to working closely with the schools to develop a robust communications strategy to ensure parents are kept informed of progress at every stage in the process.

"I would particularly like to reassure the parents of All Saints’ children that nothing has changed for them with regards to their choice of schools following this decision.

"During the transition period, arrangements will be in place to enable All Saints' pupils to stay on and become Yarmouth Primary School pupils, if that is the parents’ choice.

"It remains our priority to ensure all schools secure high attainment and we continue to work with the schools in the West Wight to provide the individual support they need.

"The council has been clear throughout the consultations it has undertaken and the reports it has produced that its aim is to provide long-term sustainability to primary education in the area and, that it is of the very highest quality.

"To take no action to manage surplus capacity in the West Wight was not an option. To do nothing would have put at risk all the schools across the area, due to falling numbers and budget pressures. I would be failing in my role if I just ignored this, and I was not prepared to do that.

"The council also remains committed to working with the Yarmouth community and Portsmouth and Winchester Diocese to consider how when it becomes available, the Yarmouth school site can be re-purposed to again play an active role in the area.”

UPDATE, Wednesday 15 January: Nikki Mobley, Headteacher of All Saints CE Primary, has released the following statement.

She said: "This is an exciting time for Freshwater, as it will benefit from a school building which is fit for the 21st Century, such as those provided in Cowes, Ryde and Newport.

"The children in the West Wight deserve this provision and I know all schools, governors and staff involved are committed to supporting pupils and their parents/carers through the changes to come.

"We have assured our parents/carers that we are continuing to work hard to minimise the impact of this decision on children’s on-going education at our school at this time.

"While we are sad the decision has been made to close All Saints at the end of this academic year, we agree that the oversupply of places and the financial impact of running too many schools needs to be addressed.

"We are pleased that a newly built school will be placed in our community where the majority of children in the West Wight live.

"We have requested that the Local Authority write to our parents directly and lead a meeting in which the process of admission to their next school is explained. Assistance will be provided to support parents/carers in managing this from both Local Authority teams and school staff.

"We are grateful for the on-going support of our parents and community and ask that people understand the impact of this decision on staff who are potentially facing redundancy.

"We hope that the fantastic SATs results and Good OFSTED outcome within the last 6 months will enable staff, and governors, to continue to work within education, utilising the skills, experience and talents they have on the Isle of Wight."