Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Troubled Sandown Bay Academy 'to be closed'

Protests
Image caption Parents and children held protests against the merger

An academy chain has said it plans to close a school which has "halved in size and income".

Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) said income at Sandown Bay Academy had dropped by £5m in five years because of a "rapid fall" in pupil numbers.

It said a previously-announced merger with Ryde Academy would now involve the closure of the Sandown site.

Isle of Wight councillors recently voted to ask the government to oust AET "off the island altogether".

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Image caption AET said the school's academic performance was "very weak"

In a consultation document, AET said student numbers had fallen from 2,084 in 2011/12 to 1,122 five years later.

It said many schools were seeing the same pattern, and the island had "many more secondary school places than students to fill them".

AET said income for the current year was £7m, compared with £12m in 2012/13.

The trust, which previously described the school's academic performance as "very weak", said it lacked teachers and resources.

Sandown Bay Academy - Timeline

  • September 2011 - Opens under AET management on the sites of two closed schools in Sandown
  • March 2013 - Rated "inadequate" by Ofsted school inspectors
  • November 2014 - Ofsted rating upgraded to "requires improvement"
  • March 2017 - AET reduces a £850,000 savings target to less than £250,000 "following discussions with the head teacher"
  • April 2017 - Head teacher resigns and the board of governors is replaced
  • May 2017 - AET announces plans to merge the school with Ryde Academy
  • May 2017 - Isle of Wight Council votes to ask the government to oust AET "off the island altogether"

AET plans to transfer most pupils and teachers to its Ryde Academy, 6 miles (10km) away.

A final decision on the proposed merger will be made by the government following a six-week consultation which runs until 6 July.

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