Isle of Wight Council agrees to oust academy chain

Isle of Wight councillors have agreed to push forward with plans to oust Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) from managing schools on the Isle of Wight.

The news comes after AET announced plans to merge its Sandown Bay and Ryde academies, with a consultation on the merger between the two schools due to start next week.

However, the authority will now take its request to the Department for Education and wants to establish another body to run the island's schools.

AET claimed falling numbers and the consequent impact on finances had prompted the merger decision. The head teacher of Sandown Bay resigned and the board of governors was replaced earlier this year.

A final decision on the proposed merger will be made by the government after the general election.

Conservative councillor Chris Whitehouse said: "We want AET out of Sandown Academy and preferably off the island altogether."

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesman said: "We are aware of AET's proposal to merge Sandown Bay Academy and Ryde Academy.

"Any significant change to an open academy must be approved by the department and there is a clearly defined process that academy trusts must follow."

Catherine Hastings from the trust said: "We really do understand the depth of feeling among students and families. The facts are that there are way too many school places on the island."

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