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Sandown Bay/Ryde Academies: AET responding to parental questions

posted 9 May 2017, 02:58 by Karen Bricknell   [ updated 9 May 2017, 03:40 ]

A letter has been sent to parents of both schools setting out the intention to merge Sandown Bay and Ryde Academies with effect from September 2018.  We appreciate this will raise a lot of questions from parents, many of which we will not be able to answer at this very early stage in the process.

We understand this is an uncertain time for the students and their families at Sandown Bay and are keen to hear from you.  The consultation process, which we will launch shortly, will allow full opportunities for everyone to have their say, and will ensure that views on all aspects of the proposed merger with Ryde Academy can be put forward and considered before any decision is made.


 Meanwhile to answer some of the immediate questions arising:


     When would the proposed changes take effect?  The full consultation period will take place during May and June - the exact dates will be announced shortly. At the end of this period AET will consider the responses and if we believe that the amalgamation is still the way forward we will send our proposals, and the reasons for them, to the Department for Education, together with a summary of responses from the consultations. The merger would then be a matter for Government Ministers to decide. If Government approval is confirmed, the amalgamation would not take place until September 2018, with 2017-18 being a transition year to ensure thorough planning.


     Will there be space in the new school for all current children?   We are confident of being able to provide a place for all students who want to come to the newly merged school.


     What will happen to incoming Year 7s in September?  Current Y7s will start at SBA and Ryde as normal.  If we move ahead with the merger then they, as all pupils, will have a carefully planned move to the new school in the next academic year.


     What will happen to pupils who have already chosen their options for GCSEs?  Will their curriculum options still be available?  Yes, we will be honouring those options.  Clearly with next year’s Y9 we will need to decide on courses prior to the options evening in the spring term of 2018. 


      What will happen to the Cove?  The Cove is a highly successful provision which we have every commitment to maintaining and developing further in the interests of all children with autism needs at the academy(ies).  In order to do this, we will work closely with current staff, the parents and the students themselves to ensure we plan for each child personally.  AET’s Exec Director for SEND, Malcolm Reeve, who is a National Leader of Education with extensive experience in this area, will support and advise on the move to ensure the provision remains strong.


·         What will happen to facilities like the athletics track at Sandown Bay?  Will we just lose that? The athletics track is owned and operated by IoW Council.  Plans and future arrangements for the track will need to be discussed with the Council at a later stage


     Practical arrangements/logistics, including transport, uniforms etc. We realise parents will have lots of concerns and questions around specific aspects of this plan.  These will be explained as part of the consultation process. We want to ensure we hear all views, and take account of all opinions; so please do feed your questions and comments on all these issues into the consultation process.

In the meantime if any parents wish to submit questions to AET direct in advance of the formal consultation, we invite them to contact