Bob Seely says he's confident progress has been made when it comes to tackling challenges facing the Isle of Wight, following a two day visit from Secretary of State Michael Gove.

He said it is now a case of waiting to find out what has been agreed.

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Representatives from nine other UK islands attended the IW for the Islands Forum, the second ever to be held.

Mr Seely told the County Press the event was about finding a "common agenda" with UK islands and "getting better life opportunities for Islanders".

The focus was on jobs and skills, with visits to CECAMM in Whippingham and Wight Shipyard in East Cowes.

Read more: Isle of Wight ferry firms could be looked at by government says Gove

Among the issues Mr Seely raised were the Island's "bad phonics results" (early stage reading). He said he has asked the government to arrange a conference for Island schools so that they can share phonics experience to drive up results.

He said access to continued professional development for teachers on the Island is also lacking, impeding their ability to keep education standards up.

The third point raised was for a centre of excellence - a body which provides training and support for teachers. 

And, finally, Mr Seely called for the IW to have the resources to offer three year university courses.

He said he wanted a tie in with the University of Highlands and Islands, or, failing that, a better relationship with Southampton and Portsmouth Universities.

They could have a shared mini-campus in Island Harbour, integrated into the Isle of Wight College, he said.

He told the County Press it is now a case of waiting to see what Mr Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, comes back with.

"Michael is looking at using Levelling Up budgets better.

"We're going to be approaching the Education Department about giving more support for islands.

Watch the Isle of Wight County Press' Oliver Dyer speak to Secretary of State, Michael Gove:

"We've got to wait for feedback to see what the Government is going to do. This is going to make progress. 

"Is it going to solve every issue facing the Island? No. But it's about ensuring better life opportunities for Islanders."

Mr Seely has invited Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools, to the Island.

Another issue facing UK islands was transport and connectivity, namely ferries.

Mr Seely said it's an issue that unites all islands, other than Anglesea which has bridges.

But, he said, the main focus of this event was jobs and opportunities, otherwise it becomes a "random talking shop".

At the next forum he is promising to make sure the government look at the ferry companies with a "determined eye". 

Speaking to the media in Shanklin today, Michael Gove said the government was prepared to be "appropriately tough in demanding accountability from these ferry services."

Connectivity for all islands will be the topic of the next forum, in September or October.