Your Responses: Is Mundesley House Good Value?

Mundesley House

The Council Chairman says that the costs of running the Mundesley boarding house need checking to see whether the service provides the best value for ratepayers.

Currently the authority accesses special funding to provide term-time accommodation and food for off-island secondary age pupils on St Mary’s four nights a week.

There have been calls to close the boarding house and bring the children over each day.

Mike Hicks accepts that jet boats are a ‘new breed’ of boat which could allow daily transfer of pupils to St Mary’s.

Scilly Today commentator ‘Stuart’ feels savings of around £1m per annum could be made by closing Mundesley and the three remaining off-island school bases and moving younger pupils to St Mary’s each day.

He says, “I was on the quay this morning and two teachers and lots of little people arrived on a jet boat from Tresco/Bryher, so it would appear that shipping children over from off islands to attend the main school can be done.”

Not everyone agrees. Fiona Robson says she would not be happy with sending 5-year-olds on a jet boat every day to and from the off-islands. Fiona says, “it’s bad enough that they have to do it between Bryher and Tresco.”

Councillor Hicks says his family’s boating firm used to carry pupils between St Martin’s and St Mary’s and he warns that winter weather conditions were not always favourable. Although the youngsters were usually able to cope, their parents were often anxious, he says

‘Pepper’ believes that there are additional benefits to allowing the off-island youngsters to stay over on St Mary’s as they are, “able to stay and develop relationships with St Mary’s pupils, making friends and doing after-school activities.”

Mike accepts that the economics of staffing and maintaining the boarding house needs comparing with the cost of boat operations. A boat service would have to be put out to tender and could prove quite expensive, he warns.

Mike believes that there would have to be a widespread consultation before any change and he would expect a ‘backlash’ from some off-island parents if he were to back the idea at this stage.

He says it’s one for the ‘back burner’ for now as there are many pressing issues for him to attend to before the elections next May, not least the transport issues surrounding the quay redevelopment and the airport.

 



36 Responses to Your Responses: Is Mundesley House Good Value?

  1. Scillybug November 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    I love the comment by Tony Smith !!! so the council can not subsidise the boarding of off-island children however it is perfectly fine to subsidise affordable housing for St Marys residence. The Isles of Scilly is an expensive place to live if you want a cheap house go somewhere else. I feel to expect children to commute to school each day is nothing more than a Joke.

  2. Cochon D'avation October 26, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Well ‘ere a am, you silly henglishes. Donught use ma name in ze vane pleazes.

    In ze lands of ze culture we would not tolerate such stupidity. Is clears to me zat you have to ban ze Mundesley Boarding ‘ouse.

    Make ze oeuf islanders swim to ze school or travels each days wiz the ozzer peoples.

    Merci et vivre La Republique

  3. Verity Pushpram October 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Ginnick,
    At no time in any of these posts have I used the words “rich, idle off-islanders”, so please don’t put words into my mouth.

    I agree we could trade figures all day and we could each make the figures support our own personal view.
    I also agree that collective taxes will see some benefiting more than others, that is the nature of wealth distribution through common taxation.

    My point is that in today’s economic climate Mundersley is an unnecessary luxury especially when the council is already spending £ 35,320 on Home to School Transport (to/from Mundersley and between Tresco and Bryher). And £45,740 on Early Years Transport ( which you assume is mostly on boats from the Off Islands).
    So one has to ask the question “if the council is already spending £81,000 a year in school related boat services does it really need Mundersley?

    • Ginnick October 26, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Fair point, the ‘rich idle’ part was my own comment. I did not mean to imply that you had said it.

      It was only your statement about St. Marys subsidising the Off-Islands I took issue with. As I do not believe that is the case.

      However on Mundesley you point out that there is £35,320 spent already on school related boating (I do not count Early years, as that would be spent if Mundesley was there or not). I imagine this would increase if the boating was every day rather than twice a week, 10 boats would cost more than 2.

      There is never a ‘Magic Bullet’ answer, hopefully whoever looks at this in future will look at all the related financial and social implications and make an informed decision, in the mean time I will continue to look out for flying pigs.

  4. Verity Pushpram October 25, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Forgive me, I set out the figures above in table form but the page deleted all the spacing making the figures difficult to understand
    Hopefully it will leave the dots in place

    ………………………..Total cost ……..Benefit to off islanders
    Benefit to Both:… £ 876,687 ……£175,337.40 (20% of total cost)
    Benefit to Off Islands Only……….. £133,420
    Subsidised Off island Boat fares ….£102,600.00
    Total cost to the council tax payer £411,357,40

    • Ginnick October 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

      I agree the discussion was about the viability of Mundesley, but you raised the point about St. Marys having to subsidise the rich, idle off-islanders. Yes, a reduction in any need for grant funding would be a benefit, actually a benefit to the whole UK population. I’m sure you’ll find some other areas in the UK where your tax money could be better spent, but that is not what my point was.
      Nor did I think it was the point you were trying to make when you said:
      “Regards off islanders paying council tax, of the 2000 residents on the ios, only 400 are off islanders, which means 20% of the islands population are benefiting disproportionately compared to the amount of money they contribute to the council budget,”

      Unless you are saying 10% of the off-island population has moved to St. Marys in the last 10 years, then it is actually 29% on the off-islands. If you look at my second post I actually get a higher figure for money spent on the off-islands. But when compared to the money spent on St. Marys alone it seems to even out (within £30,000 or 1%).

      St. Marys:
      71% of Shared services £ 640,667
      St. Marys Services £ 687,748
      Total £ 1,328,415

      Off Islands:
      29% of Shared services £ 254,239
      Off Islands Services £ 236,020
      Total £ 490,259

      The total figure is 1,818,674, so the Off-Islands should be due 29% or 527,415. That is only £ 37,156 off the figures calculated above, so really you could say that per proportion of population the Off-Islands get a fair proportion of the services.

      You will notice that this is not the council tax spend, but an illustration of money spent between St. Marys and the Off-Islands.

      You can argue figures all day, I’m sure you will be able to come up with more to support your view. As the saying goes “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” . I’m sure there is a lot more in the budget document that I don’t understand.

      I’ll leave this here. I’m happy living on an off-Island. I accept that a lot of my council tax will go on services that do not directly benefit me; OAP concessionary fares, Early Years transport, Life Long Learning transport just to list some that apply to Off-Islands let alone all the St. Marys services I will never benefit from. I consider that to be part of living in any community, if I lived on the mainland my council tax would also be spent on services that would not benefit me directly.

  5. Verity Pushpram October 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    If you look at the council Finance Papers for 2012/13 there is a lot of good information.
    On page 35 you can see that the approved 2011/12 budget has a net cost of services of £4,725,134 to cover this £1.223.497 comes from council tax and the remainder is derived from either grants, funding or form charges for services.

    So lets assume that of the £1,223,497.00 raised in council tax 20% of that is contributed by off islanders which is £244,699,40. Now if we look at the costs

    Total cost Benefit to off islanders
    Benefit to Both: £ 876,687 £175,337.40 (20% of total cost)
    Benefit to Off Islands Only £133,420
    Subsidised Off island Boat fares £102,600.00
    Total cost to the council tax payer £411,357,40

    So already St Mary’s is subsidising the off islands to the tune of £166,658 pa.

    Then add in the cost of off islands school bases, including buildings, staff, running costs etc. If we assume that the three deputy heads are on £50k pa each that’s another £150,000 and then if we add in the running costs of additional staff and buildings that raises the figure to around the £250,000 mark.

    But this discussion is not about council tax contribution, its about the financial viability of Mundersley. It will be interesting to see what happens once the DFE have completed their audit; my guess is they will take the school out of local control and will place an external no nonsense head in charge, which to be frank is what the school needs and the chances of Mundersley or the off island school bases surviving are slim.

    As to grants, where do you think central government gets the money from to pay for all these grants, the answer is the tax payer, whenever you buy something you contribute 20% in vat. Those who work pay tax on their earnings, those who have savings get taxed, those who have a pension get taxed, we all contribute to the tax system. in case you hadn’t noticed there is a financial crises and central government is reducing the amount of money it pays to local government, why should we be any different.

  6. Ginnick October 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Another way of looking at the figures is to split the shared services by the proportion of population on St. Marys or the Off Islands. “Verity” says 20% on the Off-Islands but the 2001 Census has 1666 people on St. Marys and 487 on the Off Islands. So I will use 29% for the off Island population.
    Using the Figures from my previous post (I still admit they could be wrong, and welcome any other figures):

    St. Marys:
    71% of Shared services £ 640,667
    St. Marys Services £ 687,748
    Total £ 1,328,415

    Off Islands:
    29% of Shared services £ 254,239
    Off Islands Services £ 236,020
    Total £ 490,259

    The total figure is 1,818,674, so the Off-Islands should be due 29% or 527,415. That is only £ 37,156 off the figures calculated above, so really you could say that per proportion of population the Off islands get a fair proportion of the services.

    Even working it this way I cannot agree with “Verity’s” statement that “20% of the islands population are benefiting disproportionately”

  7. Ginnick October 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Verity Pushpram – “Regards off islanders paying council tax, of the 2000 residents on the ios, only 400 are off islanders, which means 20% of the islands population are benefiting disproportionately compared to the amount of money they contribute to the council budget,”

    Let’s see your figures to back this up then!
    If you look at the council Finance Papers for 2012/13 there is a lot of good information.
    On page 35 you can see that the approved 2011/12 budget has a net cost of services of £4,725,134 to cover this £1.223.497 comes from council tax and the remainder is derived from either grants, funding or form charges for services.

    The budget for the General Purposes committee is probably the most relevant as it covers items that do not necessarily apply to St. Marys and the Off Islands equally. Below is a breakdown of the GPC budget split between services that benefit St. Marys only, Off Islands only, and Both Equally. This is only my take on it, I’ve tried to be as fair as possible. But if anyone wants to go to ” http://www.scilly.gov.uk/Council%20of%20the%20Isles%20of%20Scilly/FullCouncilBudgetBook201213.pdf ” and have another look at it be my guest! Figures in (brackets) are incomes rather than expenditures.

    Of Benefit to Both:
    Graveyards £ 4,513
    Coastal Monitoring £ 2,038
    Food Safety £ 14,793
    Pollution Reduction and Control £ 16,042
    Rodent and Pest Control £ 14,360
    Environmental Health £ 9,177
    Animal Welfare £ 22,922
    Public Toilets £ 53,575
    Trading Standards £ 9,273
    Incinerator £ 187,163
    Recycling £ 134,478
    Waste Strategy Management £ 464
    Fire and Rescue £ 447,920
    Airport Fire and Rescue £ 298,717
    Airport General (£ 732,156)
    Air Traffic Control £ 382,314
    Airside Maintenance £ 11,094
    Total £ 876,687

    Of benefit to St. Marys Only:
    Local Authority Maintained beaches £ 66,230
    Porthcressa Shelter £ 6,757
    Coastal Protection £ 29, 610
    Sea Defences £ 4,146
    Dog Warden £ 7,097
    Street Sweeping £ 37,650
    Domestic Refuse Collection £ 218,451 (80% share)
    Trade Waste Collection £ 91,482
    Highways (road signs and markings) £ 6,455
    Highways (routine repairs) £ 80,527
    Highways (street lighting) £ 5,645
    IOS Sewerage Services (£ 79,598)
    IOS water services (£ 97,088)
    Desalination £ 75,849
    Total £ 647,398

    Of benefit to Off Islands Only:
    Domestic Refuse Collection £ 54,612 (20% share)
    Bryher Refuse £ 10,543
    St. Agnes Refuse £ 11,676
    St. Martins Refuse £ 16,111
    Bryher Water £ 40,478
    Total £ 133,420

    So you can say that St. Marys residents get £ 513,978 more services provided by the council than Off Islanders. Of course it’s not that simple. There will be costs hidden in other budgets that will even this up a bit. So having a scan through the rest of the budget you can find:

    Concessionary Boat Fares for OAP’s £ 1,545
    Off Island Launch (Lyonesse Lady) £ 19,995
    Home to School Transport (to/from Mundesly and between Tresco and Bryher) £ 35,320
    Early Years Transport (I’m assuming most of this is boats from the Off Islands) £ 45,740

    So that gives £ 101,210 back to the off islands from their council tax, but you also find:
    Council Housing £ 38601
    Buzza Bus £ 1749

    So that takes £ 40,350 back to St. Marys, leaving the Off Islands short about £ 453,188 of council spending. To me that doesn’t add up to “which means 20% of the islands population are benefiting disproportionately compared to the amount of money they contribute to the council budget “.

    Once again I’ll say that this is only me scanning quickly though the “headline” figures in the budget. I’m sure that I am well out in some areas. I live on an Off Island and don’t complain (too much) about having to pay council tax, even if I am sure that I don’t get as much for my money as if I lived on St.Marys.

    Another interesting thing to find out was that the Education Budget (including Mundesley as far as I could tell) was all funded from grants including the “Isles of Scilly Education Grant” so no money coming from the Council Tax for that.

  8. Pepper October 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Well, all I can say is I think it’s very sad that you feel this way, and that you want to end something that provides an invaluable service to people that is greatly appreciated. All I can say is, look at the above comments and listen to the wider community, and you will realise that Mundesley has such an excellent support network and is supported by the majority, not the minority of islanders. I feel sorry for you as you’ll never understand how it feels to be part of something constructive as opposed to destructive.

    • Rincewind October 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Pepper, I think you misunderstand me.

      Mundesley is an excellent place for the children, it just not sustainable. No other school in the UK provides free accommodation for it’s students. The parents contribute a ridiculously small amount for food costs.

      I believe an off island governor asked last year if off island parents would like to contribute more than £25 per term for the accommodation and food costs, the parents suggested an increase to £30 per term!. So lets assume that every 6 weeks they pay £30. The children have a meal and drinks every night (4 nights) that makes it £1.25 per child per day. I don’t know where you buy your stuff from but there’s no way even buying in bulk that can be done over here. Of course if the parents pay £30 every term then it’s only £0.63 per meal. But that doesn’t cover all costs.

      My question is this, why shouldn’t they pay something like it costs everyone else to feed a child. I would imagine a fair cost would be £30 per week to include, food, lighting heating, bed laundry service, cleaning, water etc etc etc.

      I’m not being sad it’s just that Mundesley is not economical to run. I agree with you that it is very important for the off island children to be able to access after school clubs etc. However, if they were on the mainland, the parents would be driving them to clubs possibly spending several hours in the car.

      So why not close Mundesley and the off island bases save £300k per annum, employ a local boat service and commute daily. When I went to school, I had to get up at 6.45am, the first bus went at 7.25am to catch the second bus at 8.05am to get me to school for 8.30am on the way back we left at 4pm and got at 5.15pm. The thing is off islands council workers are already doing a daily commute so I can’t see a problem.

      Of course if the school went to academy status, the council would be responsible for operating and paying for Mundesley so I wonder how long that would last?

      Sorry got to go the Patrician wants me.

  9. Rincewind October 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Pepper I would suggest that you find out from an off island parent, or better still ask a school governor. I believe the amount may have shot up to £30 per term or half term and even then it is a voluntary contribution.

    Still excellent value for off island parents. There aren’t any other schools in the country which offer this, why shouldn’t off island parents pay a fair price for their children to be looked after?

    So bearing this in mind the special grant is still paid for by all tax payers and wouldn’t go elsewhere.

  10. Verity Pushpram October 23, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Pepper,
    A government grant is still funded by the tax payer; just because a grant is available does not mean it should be used.

    We live in beautiful and safe environment, that grant money could be better spent on children living in an impoverished inner-city area.

    Regards off islanders paying council tax, of the 2000 residents on the ios, only 400 are off islanders, which means 20% of the islands population are benefiting disproportionately compared to the amount of money they contribute to the council budget, so I hardly think the off islanders are funding the life styles of the St Mary’s residents Pepper.

    One last question Pepper if Rincewinds £25 figure is out of date, exactly how much do off island parents contribute to the cost of boarding at Mundersley each week at the present time?

  11. Pepper October 23, 2012 at 6:01 am

    I think you’ll find, if you read the above comments of the people who actually bothered to do their research, that Mundesley is funded through a government GRANT which would otherwise be spent ELSEWHERE in the country – not even on the Isles of Scilly. We would be foolish to turn down this grant for the sake of it – perhaps we should ask the off-island parents and their children if they think we should, considering that’s who it would impact.

    So in theory, if your taxpayers’ money goes towards this boarding grant and there is no Mundesley, you might in effect be paying for someone else’s boarding in the country.

    Let’s see now – do off-islanders pay council tax? Yes. So why should they pay for our roads, our water plant, drains and street lights? You don’t hear much objection from them. I’d hardly say we were subsidising the off-islanders lifestyles – more like the other way around!

    Also Rincewind – that’s the cost from about 3 years ago. It’s changed since. Have you ever tried catering from suppliers for a large number of people? It’s amazing how cheap you can get food when you buy in bulk.

  12. KevW October 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    From my experience of growing up on St Mary’s, I found that Mundesley was a great place for children from the smaller communities to socialise more and get used to what would otherwise be a big transition from living on a small island to leaving for the mainland at 16 for college. I support keeping Mundesley open and enjoyed visiting friends there. It was always a welcoming place.

    But… is that fact about parents paying £25 a term correct? I struggle to believe that – and IF (and I haven’t researched this myself, I’m going on reports given here) it is true it’s an utter disgrace. They should pay the same prize that it would cost to bring up a child in their own homes. No more and no less. Subsidy is needed for sure, but if that amount really is correct then serious reconsideration is needed and somebody somewhere is having a laugh.

  13. Verity Pushpram October 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    So what your saying Rincewind is that the off island parents only pay £25 a term towards the cost of their child’s boarding on St Mary’s; not £25 a week, but £25 a term!!!!!!!

    Its nice to know the St Mary’s council tax payers are subsidising the off islanders life styles

  14. Ex - Student October 22, 2012 at 9:35 am

    From being a student living on St. Marys I think that Mundesley is actually really important. The off island students have the opportunity then to socialise outside of school with their friends who don’t necessarily live on the same islands as them. Also there are all the clubs and activities outside of school so either they would be deprived of these or there would be a necessity to put on more boats to allow the students the same privileges as those on St. Marys. I can understand how just shipping the students to and from every day may save money but this would also mean earlier starts for them and later times to get home than if they were at Mundesley (not that it would be really late but it would be later).
    There is also all the support the students gain from Mundesley with a homework session which they may not get at home.
    The experience the students get as well. At the beginning of their secondary school life they are learning to be slightly more independent from their parents which is a valuable skill preparing them for going off to college. This is very rare at that age let alone when we all head off to college and further education.
    I think councillors should really consider all the benefits Mundesley provides for the students and not just in an academic or in expenses.

  15. Rincewind October 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Of course Mundesley is excellent value for money – especially for the off – island parents! Who wouldn’t want their child looked after for virtually free during the school term. I believe they pay £25 per term for their child’s food.

    • Pepper October 22, 2012 at 11:59 am

      Of course it’s excellent value – we’re all thankful to the Government for spending the special grant on the Isles of Scilly children as opposed to another boarding house elsewhere in the country!

  16. Joby Newton September 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I wrote a long reply to Stuart about this on another thread but didn’t bother submitting as from reading his other comments I place absolutely no value on his opinion.

    I think saying this could save the council £1 million is firstly wrong and secondly a very basic way of looking at the current system.

    People do understand that there are 3 Jet passenger boats in Scilly? If you were to shut down the off island schools on Tresco and Bryher there are up to 40 kids aged 4-16 (when I was there more)…….

    The Jet boats in Scilly carry 12 people……. and with kids on board need to take an extra crew. So roughly £50 per trip, with Agnes and St Martins……. 8 Trips each way minimum a day. So based on Stuart’s incredible financial insight earlier gives a minimum of 160,000 rather than 48,000.

    What time would some kids have to get up to make the boat?

    Also this does not allow for any off island kids to attend any after school activities. @Tony you wouldn’t have got a Scillonian Regimental Sergeant Major in Cadets haha.

    Plus the amount of detentions we got at school would have missed the boat all the time.

    Also we used to miss several days a year due to adverse weather if the boat ran every day this would be massively increased.

    When I was at secondary school the Off Island kids numbered about 30 out of the School’s total 120, not an insignificant amount and I really dislike the off-Island ‘bashing’ as the off islands contribute disproportionately highly to Scilly’s tourism Income based on population.

    ‘If you want your children to be able to socialise, don’t live on an off island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.’

    This really doesn’t merit an answer, St Mary’s isn’t exactly London is it.

    And the Kids living less than a mile away, again firstly isn’t true (a one mile perimeter of the school leaves you on St Mary’s or in the sea) and secondly needs to be put into context with the fact that there is a shed load of water in the ‘Mile’

    There are probably ways of making some aspects of the current system more economically viable, but I think shutting down the boarding house is not the answer and shutting down the primary schools as completely ridiculous.

  17. Stuart September 27, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I’m not forcing my opinion on any one, this is a public forum where people can discuss the issue and express their opinion.

    It seems to me that what your saying is it would be better if I did not express my opinion because you don’t agree with it.

  18. Another off-islander September 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Its states above that the funding for Mundesley is from a special funding. So if Mundesley were to close surely this money would just be spent elsewhere in the country?
    This special funding enables off island children to enjoy the same facilities as St.Mary’s children. So as it is special funding, and we have access to it, why are people saying that we shouldn’t make the most of it?
    Stuart – you clearly have not experienced just what the hostel means to some people. I have seen both sides of not using the hostel and using the hostel after having to travel back and forth to school by boat everyday for half of a term. The hostel is a fantastic asset to the school, the off-islands and even to some St. Mary’s people.
    So why not try to see it through someone else’s eyes instead of trying to enforce your opinion on the world.

  19. An Off-Islander September 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I had a feeling you would say that.

    So the off-island parents should now pay the £96,000 per year (by your own dubious sums) to transport themselves and their children to and from school on St Marys daily?

    I can’t wait to hear your next idea….

  20. Stuart September 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    You could argue that it’s the parents legal responsibility to get their children to school safely and not the councils.
    That way even more more money could be saved

  21. An Off-Islander September 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Stuart,

    Isn’t the law a pain! Not only does it prevent the Council from turfing out old people out of Park House to fend for themselves, it puts a spanner in the works of your grand money saving scheme too.

    How do you think it would stand legally to send 4 year olds on a jet boat and then make them walk to school on St Marys from the quay unaccompanied? In the dark in winter this walk wouldn’t be idea for a child of 4, equally a crossing in a gale by boat would be quite risky without adult supervision.

    I assume that this is your suggestion as your calculations do not include any provision of staff to accompany the off-island children on boats, any provision of vehicles to get them to the school or staff required to accompany them there…

    I thought it best to stick soley to the legal and financial implications as it is clear that pointing out the HUGE child welfare and moral issues with this idea would be pointless. The disregard you show for the well-being of off-island children clearly shows that.

  22. Piers September 26, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I was fortunate enough to grow up on St Agnes, and benefitted from the best schooling in the UK both on the island and on St Marys where I boarded weekly, so feel that perhaps I can add the views of someone who has actually gone through the process. My wife is a teacher and I have a young boy of 4 [who has just started primary school last week], I should also state that Mike Hicks is my godfather, for whom I have the greatest respect and am confident that he is able to make the right decision.
    When considering the options I would suspect the following needs to be considered.
    • The benefits of interaction with other children of the same age in an extra curricular environment cannot be underestimated. Up to the age of 11 all a child needs is a secure environment for learning and play which is most definitely offered by off Island schools, however post 11 that environment [especially in winter months] would be too restrictive and the children need to interact with others of the same age for social development.
    • The travel from St Agnes [the most isolated and arguably cut off in bad weather] in winter months can be testing for anyone in gale force winds. If you asked whether or not I would feel comfortable with my 4 year old son travelling like that everyday I would suggest not just that it would be an unreasonable expectation, but moreover the journey can be draining and lead to much of the day recovering from sea sickness even for an 11 + year old. This was often the case on a Monday morning in the winter and we were sometimes late for school but able to ‘recover’ at the boarding house. There were also occasions where the weather was too bad to travel home, even when only travelling twice a week rather that twice daily. Who would look after and pay for children unable to return home, and also again unreasonable for a 4 year old.
    • The autonomy of the off islands schools and their consequent interaction with each other [fete’s, Samson school picnics, sports days and may days] provided a unique, secure and special environment that resulted in well rounded pupils.
    • The transition to full time [termly] boarding at 16 which is a requirement for any further education on the Islands was seamless for off island children as we had had the benefit of boarding weekly, another advantage for off islanders who could otherwise be very sheltered living on an Island of 85 people with possibly no one the same age.
    • Finally, and almost most importantly, the Council have a duty of care to manage the welfare of children on the Islands, my personal view is that if a daily boat service was the preferred option they could very quickly find themselves in hot water because the welfare of children was not put before cost.

    As an aside my parents and I often recall a great story. In my first week at primary school I announced that ‘I needed to go home and have a Weetabix because my tummy rumbled’, and my teacher [the best teacher I ever had, Mrs Marigold] replied ‘well youd better go home and have some then’. I dutifully walked home, had my Weetabix and returned to school. Bureaucracy has since prevented that, however the response from everyone who hears that is simply ‘wow, what a great childhood you were so fortunate to have’….

  23. Stuart September 25, 2012 at 8:50 am

    To answer to Georges response,
    If you want your children to be able to socialise, don’t live on an off island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.
    To answer Nick’s response,
    Caring for the elderly is a legal obligation, providing a school boarding house for children who live less than an mile away isn’t.

    As to the cost of boating.
    Assuming the cost of a return trip is £80 and the Tresco/Bryher run is counted as one trip and assuming that the school year once holidays have been removed is only 40weeks long that adds up to…..
    £80×3 = £240 a day
    £240×5 = £1200 a week
    £1200×40=£48,000 a year

    When you add the cost of running Mundersley and then off island school bases plus the staff on deputy headmaster salary’s plus all the boat trips the off island schools already do you will find a figure somewhere around the £1m mark.
    It would be great if things could always stay the same but not even Scilly is immune from the ravages of the global economic crisis. All governments, companys and authority’s are having to make drastic reductions in costs, why should we be any different.

    • Offshore Worker September 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

      “If you want your children to be able to socialise, don’t live on an off island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.” – Stuart

      Or to look at it another way;

      If you don’t want your money to be used to improve the education and social experience of children, don’t live on a group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

      You don’t hear (much) complaining from Off-Islanders about our council tax funding St. Mary’s roads, drains, rubbish collection, street lights, etc. But if you object to your money benefiting Off-Island children then I think I’ll have to start objecting to my money benefiting you.

      The islands exist as a group, some will benefit from one service and others will benefit from another.

      ps. Probably no suprise but I agree with Pepper, George summed it up well in his post.

  24. Nick F September 25, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Park House is a huge drain on our resources and only serves the needs of a tiny minority of the island population, let’s shut that and turn it into affordable housing.

    • Pepper September 25, 2012 at 8:55 am

      Love the irony Nick. Yes, the way some of these people think they would probably say let’s send all the residents to the mainland, its’s cheaper for us. Doesn’t matter about what they and their families want/need. People need to realise that just because a service is small doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to the service users and their families.

  25. George September 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    (Full disclosure: Views my own, however my parents do run Mundesley)

    Mundesley is much more than simply an alternative to transporting the kids before and after school.

    I spend a great deal of time with the kids at Mundesley, and have a good idea of the kinds of lives they live and exactly what they would be missing out on if Mundesley were to ever be closed. If the off-island children had to return to their own islands at 3:30 every day, socialising with children their own age would become almost an impossibility.

    They would return to their own islands where there are few if any kids their own age, and lack a great social culture. After school clubs would suddenly be shut off to them, as would the chance for GCSE students to do extra study clubs like many of them do in DT and Art.

    Many schools on the mainland have at least two school busses back to the children’s based (one after school and one post-after school clubs), most also then have the opportunity to fall back on a stable public transport system when this is over, and when worst comes to worse many can rely on their parents to pick them up from town.

    Almost nodbody has an easy private means of transport back. The public transport here is not reliable enough, run often enough or able to provide multiple trips back to the off-islands. I particularly wonder about the viability of late night boats in Winter.

    If the Council did subsidise such transport, at an average cost of £40 a boat and 4 journeys a day, and three island trips, you would be looking at £480 per day in transport for children. Obviously some of these trips (thinking the morning and one around 5pm) may run anyway, but there would still be a significant extra cost.

    It would be a tragic shame if these islands were to decide that off-island children didn’t have the same rights to facilities, education and social life as their St Mary’s peers. This ability to provide for everyone from all islands, and not leave people from islands behind just because it’s inconvenient is what makes these islands special.

    There are ways of making Mundesley more cost neutral to the tax payer, and these should and are being investigated, but simply taking away a valuable service to off-island children for the sake of saving a few pennies isn’t the way forward.

    • Pepper September 25, 2012 at 8:52 am

      George, you have summed this up perfectly. You unlike other commentors provide input to Mundesley and know what it has to offer. Some people simply cannot see the reason behind financial implications, those people are the ones who thoughtlessly slate services simply because they do not have any substantial knowledge or involvement.

  26. lynn September 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Well put Tony, agree totally

  27. Stuart September 23, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    I think Tony sums it up perfectly

  28. Tony Smith September 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    I was a school governor when we proposed the merger of the schools to become The Five Island School, about 12 years ago.
    At the same meeting I also proposed closing Mundesley, to save on the school budget.
    This was discussed, but as we were outnumbered by off island governors at the meeting it was turned down. The reason I wax given that if the weather was too bad the boat wouldn’t go, and the kids would miss some school.
    As this rarely happens this I felt wax a poor excuse. I lived in Scotland for many years, and my children went to school by bus. If it snowed, then the bus didn’t go. Being Scotland this was a regular occurrence . The kids had home work so kept up, no problem.

    In this day and age of computers and webcams, it becomes even easier to distance learn if you get stuck.

    Mundesley is a huge drain on the education budget, but only supports a minority of the children. It could be closed and converted in to much needed ‘affordable accommodation’ for a lot of islanders.

    I also find it ironic looking back at te people who stood against their children commuting daily to St. Mary’s to school, when over the years thy have done the same themselves to work on St. Mary’s

  29. Timesharer September 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Sorry for being ignorant here, but why would a boat service have to be out out to tender?
    Why can’t the local boats undertake the run alongside the usual morning run?
    Surely there is enough income from the holidaymakers to support their costs? Am I missing something here?