Islanders To Be Consulted On School Boarding Arrangements
Islanders are to be consulted over the future of Mundesley House.
Council chairman Mike Hicks has told Radio Scilly that he wants to make sure that the school boarding house is offering the best value.
It will cost £92,000 to operate Mundesley this year. 19 students from the off-islands currently lodge there between Monday and Thursday during the school terms. By 2018, it is estimated that 28 pupils will require accommodation.
Financial arrangements could become complicated as the Council is funding the service on behalf of a different body, the Five Island School.
The Council will also need to allocate cash for structural improvements and repairs to the property, soon.
There are divided views within over whether the building, which was bought by the Council in 1965, should continue in its current use.
Critics claim it’s another perk for off-island parents who gain from free childcare and free food for their children while St Mary’s parents don’t receive that benefit.
But supporters argue that the boarding house allows off-island children to participate in after-school activities and offers better social opportunities. They also claim weather disruption could affect school attendance so it is better keeping the pupils on St Mary’s during the week.
But some locals, including Councillor Hicks, have pointed out that modern jet boats are not so vulnerable to poor weather stoppages.
A third-party report, which may cost around £5,000, will be commissioned and released as part of a consultation exercise.
Independent assessors will outline future options and offer recommendations in this report. A group of governors, councillors, parents and youngsters will oversee the whole process.
But members of the Children and Young People’s committee were keen that this overseeing ‘task and finish’ group remains small.