Islanders To Be Consulted On School Boarding Arrangements

Mundesley House

Mundesley House

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.

 


55 Responses to Islanders To Be Consulted On School Boarding Arrangements

  1. pat hicks February 25, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Do you know.. you could go on and on and on. about this debate.
    but i ‘m sorry. you end up going over the same things. Yes it is good to air everyone’s views and being open about it. but dont you think after awhile it has run its course..
    but thank you [ another islander ] for putting me in the picture.
    but its enough for me now.
    enjoy.

  2. yet another islander February 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    But Pat we are now populating the sunny uplands of democracy and the voice of the people must be heard, if we want to continue making our comments we must be allowed.
    Never again let us be silenced by the dictators and their acolytes!
    I for one would like the hostel to stay; we islanders don’t pay for it, as a mainlander (God bless them) has already said education on these islands is funded by the British Tax Payer and if Mundesley went we would be no better off and the islands’ children would be the poorer; there would be no extra money for the pot-holes or social housing or anything else. Education money is ring fenced.

  3. Pat Hicks February 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I think this argument has run its course.
    What we all need to do is wait and see what the Council /Govenors etc decide to do, and then go from there.

  4. Nobby Nobbs February 20, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Stop moaning,
    The jet boats already bring children from various off islands to St Mary’s every day anyway, so
    A) The example has been set
    B) We are already paying for the boat

    As to the “it’s worked well for forty years” argument, it has if you’re an off islander. Would you like your doctor to still be using medical procedures from forty years ago, of course not, things change, and this is one out dated relic from another era that needs to be replaced with a more up to date practice.

    Having spoken to a number of off island parents about this subject lately, it transpires that not all of them actually want their kids to be away from home and would rather they come home each evening, that is after all the point of having a family, however they feel (as is so often the case in this place) that they can’t be seen to have an opinion that differs from those who are more vocal.

    If I were in charge, I’d hold a local referendum

  5. CathE February 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I think you’ll find that Mundesley and the new school build are funded mostly by mainlanders income tax. You’re all off islanders to people on the mainland. I don’t begrudge my taxes paying for either, but I am shocked at the amount of vitriol between St Marys and off islanders. Be careful that the comments on these pages don’t put off even more tourists!

  6. Kev Wright February 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    For what it’s worth – MY TWO PENNETH:

    I’ve commented before but reading what other people have said and having more time to consider the options I see it this way.

    I wasn’t aware how little parents paid to Mundesley. They should NOT have to pay for the running of the entire building as this would be excessive, so it will need subsidy, and I don’t mind any of my tax going towards that. But off-island parents should pay weekly costs.

    Someone argued that the costs at home won’t go down as heating etc will still be on. Well over the course of a year a few hot showers a week and the heating of a kid’s bedroom, washing bed linen etc all adds up, maybe not to much but it does. Plus food. These should be expected to be covered by parents, as they are by St Mary’s parents. Other costs will need to be subsidised but I think the experience of staying at the hostel is beneficial, especially if you have to suddenly make the leap from living all your life on, say, Bryher to going away to college. It acts as an intermediary.

    All this talk of putting 4 year olds on jet boats is nonsense. NO ONE wants that. Mundesley is for secondary school children, so even in the event of its closure small children wouldn’t be making these trips as they have their own schools.

    As for funding – I don’t know how much the building gets used in the summer months but I do know that a lot of mainland schools visit during that time. Could it not be rented out to such groups to generate at least some form of income?

    The bottom line is I think it needs to stay, but parents need to pay their fair share and other taxpayers need to subsidise it, plus generating income out of school time should be encouraged.

  7. yet another islander February 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    I think we are in danger of forgetting the residents of our islands couldn’t afford to fund any of the education out of the council tax, there just aren’t enough of us; so if Mundesley closes the money will go with it, the off island kids lose something that has worked well for forty years and no one is any better off; if there are daily school boats then the primary bases on the off islands will shut as well. Would you like your four year old being shipped to St Mary’s in a howling gale?
    Maybe we could be a bit more objective in our arguments too, ‘they get more than us’, ‘we have to feed our own kids’, come on folks let’s grow up!

  8. St. Mary's resident February 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Basic needs for off island children like food should be paid for by their parents, not be expected to be covered by some other budget. You choose to have children knowing the consequences that living on an off island would entail. After school clubs ROTC are not free for St. Mary’s children!!! Why should they be free for off islands. I think you will find that a large number of off island parents work on St. Mary’s & are not only farmers of working in tourism, no different than St. Mary’s people.
    This really has turned into poor old off island peolple & how hard it is to exist for them. It is hard on St. Mary’s too for some people, difference being we don’t expect anyone else to feed & babysit our children for free all week!!!

  9. An off islander February 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Casual observer: how would you feel if you didn’t own a car and had to transport you dirty, heavy rubbish half a mile down the road, especially when the tip is only open 2 hours a week. And someone still burns what they can of all island waste anyway to limit what is taken away. Take street lights away from the rest of the country and see how most people would react.
    St Mary’s resident: we don’t expect hand outs for our children. We expect that they deserve a free and fair education the same as yours and a chance to benefit from homework and sporting clubs like your children. I personally could not afford the £40/week being proposed for my 3 children to go so what happens then, do we start having to take money out of the early years budget for people in that position?
    I am sick to death of all the off island St Mary’s bashing when what the ill feeling comes down to is that SM residents seem to think they are recieving a bad deal. At the end of the day if we all swapped our living conditions we may all feel a little bit more empathetic and what everyone involved in this debate needs most is a bit more understanding and compassion for the islands youngsters and the parents who are being made to feel like 2nd class citizens who are somehow sponging of society in order to give their children the best possible start in life.

  10. charlotte February 18, 2013 at 9:17 am

    None of this should even be about who contributes what, but lets look at this from another perspective. Practically all the adults that live on the off islands work in tourism or farming, and lets face it the wages are pretty poor. If you start charging them to send their children to school they will start leaving the islands and then where will that leave the Scilly’s economy?

  11. Ginnick February 13, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    It seems like a discussion on Mundesley has again turned into a discussion on who gets more for their Council Tax. I’m always surprised how many people on St. Marys (or the ones who comment on here!) like to get onboard the Outrage Bus as they think they are subsidising the Off-Islands. Personally I always thought it was the other way around due to the lack of services provided on off-islands.
    The last time this came up http://www.scillytoday.com/2012/09/23/your-responses-is-mundesley-house-good-value/ ) I went through the budget for the general Purposes committee to try and see if it was possible to see what was spent on who. I was surprised to find that using my, admittedly dodgy, calculations that it came out about even. Off Islanders contribute about 30% of the Council Tax and receive about 30% of the spending of the GPC.

    So really honours even, anyway I would never want to live on St. Marys, so even if we were being short changed then I would live with it. I’m sure if you looked at any local authority spending in the country then there will be some who receive more back from the council than others but pay the same Council Tax.

    Below is a cut and paste from the other thread with some of my figures. Feel free to check out the council website download the budget documents and make your own minds up.

    =====================================
    “it is actually 29% (of the population) 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.”
    =======================================

    The one thing I have not been able to find is any reference to Mundesley Funding coming from Council Tax. If people are concerned about it then maybe they would be better asking their Councillors to confirm where the funding is sourced form. If it is direct for the Government as part of the Education Grant, then I would have thought that there is a good chance that if the decision is to close Mundesley then the funding would be lost and would not be able to be transferred to another area.

  12. Pat Hicks February 13, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    I would not agree with you there off islander. our roads/pavements lighting etc on st Marys is pretty sad.. but hopefully it will be getting better over the next year or so. as for Boarding , i can’t comment as i dont know enough about it. except everyone should be working together. As usual it sounds like off islanders against St marys. which is not right.
    every island has its own problems. and its not always about money. its should be what is right for everyone.

  13. Off islander with no childeren February 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    All off islanders contribute towards Mundesley with their council tax so it’s not just 20 parents.

    I therefore am contributing with no children and paying all ST. Mary’s little luxuries like nice roads, street lighting!

    And I don’t have a problem …. it’s life …. stop moaning and worrying about what other people have.

  14. Casual Observer February 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I noticed alot of the arguments about cost seem to boil down to the fact that there are tarmaced roads and rubbish collection on St Marys…
    On St Marys vehicle owners have to Pay for road tax, Insurance and do not have the luxury of being able to run their vehicles on red diesel….
    With the exception of Tresco I believe off island waste is transported to St Mary’s for disposal granted you have to get it to the local island tip but then the residents of Pilots Retreat have to take theirs to the end of the road so where do you draw the line on what is acceptable? Street lights aren’t all they are cracked up to be do you really want one right outside your bedroom window? Personally i’d rather buy a torch!

    • Adam Morton,St.Martins February 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      The point is wether you want these services or not they are still to be paid for. I would hazard a guess that far from subsidising anything off island,St.Marys contributions don’t even cover their own services and in all likelihood the British taxpayer bails them out too. I would point out RE fuel that probably half of the vehicles still use petrol which has freight from St.Marys on top of normal prices and many of the remainder ARE agricultural vehicles and are entitled to use red diesel. We pay an extra 25% on all our freight over what St.Marys pays. The antagonism and off island bashing over some perceived benefits is easily outweighed by the disadvantages. The off islands councillors are still outnumbered in any vote by their St.Marys counterparts 13-8. If living off islands was such an easy time, why do we not have St.Marys residents flocking to live on the off islands as opposed to the other way round? I would love to see a regular bus equivalent boat service to the off islands Hiring services like a vet or electrician wouldn’t be out priced by their special up here. Off islanders could have a fair chance to compete for the better paid work like on the council and even employ workers that they don’t have accommodation for. At the same time there is something not right to me in having a single engine inflatable boat full of primary school kids a few feet of the rocks in a force nine gale!!

  15. St. Mary's resident February 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Sara, do the maths….. I think the running costs of Mundersley for 20 students at one time are far more than what 20 people pay per year in Council Tax…….
    It’s not rocket science, it’s just simple fact!!!!
    Mundersley is too expensive to run in this day & age…
    Pay for it or lose it!!!!

  16. Sara February 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    St Mary’s Resident – off island residents do pay for your street lights, tarmacing, rubbish collection etc as they pay the same council tax as you but recieve none of those benifits. They are paying for Mundersley and far far more already.

  17. Des February 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Rather surprised that no one has mentioned the recent accident with the off Island post boat ‘lively lady’, imagine if it had been the school boat,accidents at sea can happen and do! especially in Winter.

  18. Just a local February 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Ive read with interest all the comments, and understand why off island residents are jumping to the defence of the hostel.
    Its an amazing luxury for them…, But thats exactly what it is, A LUXURY!!!! Its not viable any more, there need to be cuts in all sorts of areas, and this is a massive money saving possibility. Maybe the council could purchase a boat and employ a driver! That would be cheaper than running the hostel.
    A certain child travels everyday from st martins to st marys and back again and has done so for many years with no problems, so it is completely possible.
    If the Hostel is to stay open, then surely the parents of those children should pay for Mundesley themselves, or at least a weekly ammount that isnt farcical.
    Im not surprised that people are worried, they should be, because it is only a matter of time.
    As to the fact of St Marys versus Off Islands, What a complete load of rubbish. Thats just Fear and Panic talking.

  19. St. Mary's resident February 7, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    St.Marys do have street lighting, tarmacing of sorts, rubbish collection etc…all of which we pay for!!! Can off islands say the same about Mundersley? NO!!!
    It is not being paid for by those famlies that use it. It’s running costs are coming out of monies that could be used for ALL children of Scilly not just a ‘special’ few!!
    Times are a changing so wake up & join in with the rest of Scilly that are having to sacrifice ‘luxurys’ .
    Welcome to the recession ….. Late than the Mainland but here at last.

  20. Off islander with no children February 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Well said and written by the two current hostel going girls. You have explained the situation perfectly and quite frankly added a lot more maturity to the arguement than several of the adults that have written on here.

    Shortsighted and narrow minded attitudes lead to problems and bullying and I am amazed by what some have written.

    I bet St Mary’s street lighting, road tarmacing, rubbish collection etc,. (all of which they are lucky to have) amounts to more than the cost of Mundersley.

  21. St. Mary's resident February 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

    As I said I’m my previous comments……
    I agree that Mundersley is a fantastic resource for off-island children, but costly.
    Ex student it is not just the cost of 4 meals a week!! What about water, heating, furniture, staff, T V, Eric etc….does Mundersley not have any of these ? I think it does!!!! These all cost money.
    Whether the figures to run the hostel are correct or not it is a massive cost to keep it open, using money that could be used for all the other students of Scilly to benefit from! The days of having hand outs are finished and probably why the county is in the state it’s in.
    If off island residents want Mundersley to stay open then pay for it…….St. Mary’s residents do not ask you to pay for our children’s basic needs like food, heating,water, babysitting etc etc …..
    Why should it be free any longer? The money to run it needs to come from the parents……SIMPLE.

    • E Pickles February 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Well said that person.
      It seems to me reading these posts, that there appears to be a concerted effort on the part of Mundersley users (past & present) to campaign the case for keeping Mundersley open.
      Why not be democratic about it, the council can publish the full cost of providing this resource for off islanders and then hold a referendum to ask if the 90% of the population who do not benefit from this service but have to pay for it, still want to subsidise off islanders way of life.

      While they’re at it they can also ask if St Mary’s residents wish to continue subsidising the Lyoness Lady to the tune of £20,000 pa, which amounts to St Mary’s residents subsidising off islanders freight costs ?

  22. Ex Student February 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    As an ex-student of Mundersley I can’t quite believe the sheer shortsightedness of the people who are pro-shutting down the boarding house establishment.

    Have you as parents considered how it you would feel if you were put in a position where you had to put your children, unsupervised, on a boat twice per day in stormy weather conditions and watch them sail into the distance in the dark and rain with waves breaking over the cabin and and the boat rolling side to side? Would you feel comfortable if that were your child?

    How do you think you little eleven year old boy/girl would feel getting on that boat every day?

    I can name three times in my last two years at the hostel when the boat engine failed and we were left floating for forty-five minutes before another boat came to pick us up.

    Luckily those were calm days. What if that had been in a storm or in weather conditions in likeness to what we have been experiencing recently?

    It would only take one mistake or one boat accident (nothing against the boat crews who do a fantastic job) where a child was injured or even worse and it would be down to the shortsightedness of the people responsible for the closure of Mundersley. Boat trips are unavoidable but the point is making the risks as minimal as possible. That is what the hostel is there for.

    In regards to the saving of money, all the parents on the off-islands save is the costs of four meals per week and the cost of their child having a shower in the evening, it’s not a back breaking amount of money, and to be quite honest I think if it didn’t compromise their child’s safety then an off island parent would much rather pay for those four meals!

    As for childcare, that is plain ridiculous. By the time your child is 15/16 they are out most evenings with their friends anyway. The Mundersley students do not receive any washing benefits or services. The off island parents get a stack of washing from the week come home on a Friday which they have to clean, dry, iron and get ready for Monday morning.

    The hostel is not waste of resources. It allows the childeren to socialize and be a part of the bulk of the school community outside of academic hours. It prevents alienation of the off-island children from the St.Marys pupils by allowing them build bridges and relationships with their St.Marys peers outside of the classroom. Not only that but it allows access to the after school activities which would otherwise not be available due to having to catch a scheduled boat as soon as schools closes. Most importantly if offers a secure environment for the children to live which prevents them having to boat twice a day in often compromisable and unsafe weather conditions.

    From reading the comments left by some of the parents and adults of St.Marys, it’s obvious many of you believe you do, but in fact have no idea of what it is to live on the off islands. I suggest you put yourselves in the shoes of these parents and actually look at it from their perspective without money in your eyes for few moments.

  23. Two Current hostel-going girls February 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Hello, we’re two current hostelgoing girls.
    We’ve had a fair bit of time at the hostel-long enough to know what goes on.
    Apart from the fact that we quite like Mundesley, there are alot of reasons Not to get rid of it, and it feels like the majority are just focusing on the financial side of things.
    Firstly, dont try and make it sound like our families dont want us at home. Its not that easy to send your eleven year old off for a week without seeing them.
    Without Mundesley, we’d be boating back and forth everyday, and although this may have its advantages, we feel its heavily outwayed by disadvantages.
    What happens when its too rough to go to school, do we just not go? This would bring down not just our own attendance but the whole school’s, as offisland students make up around 25% of all secondary students.
    Its also a fact that St agnes doesn’t have a jet boat, and already misses out on occasional Mondays and Fridays due to stormy weather.
    Also, what happens when its too rough for us to get home? Where do we stay?
    So what about our education? Without Mundesley, we’d miss out on GCSE and homework clubs. This includes: English, maths, art, DT, Child developement, PE, Drama qualifications, and music. This would mean we would miss out on valuable GCSEs. It would also mean we’d miss out on after school clubs. Such as: rowing, sailing, shooting, guides, cadets, various other sports, drama productions and thats just to list a few.
    Going to clubs helps people to make friends and form social groups. The social side of Mundesley is another reason it should stay. For a teenager, living on an offisland can be lonely, to say the least.
    The majority of us have no other others of our age on our individual islands. Boating every day would mean we woulndnt see our friends apart from in school, and this would make it hard to fit in with anybody. Also, it would make any Stmarys-offisland relationships virtually impossible.
    So in short, apart from having a load of unhappy teenagers on your back, you’d be taking away some education, life opportunities, and social statuses.
    Two Current Hostel Going Girls :)

  24. sarah February 3, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    We have choices in life ,to live on an off island or not ! It amazes me that Mundersley has survived for so long it is a luxury and in my opnion a waste of money Correct me if im wrong I can think of very few children who live such a priviledged lifestyle Stop complaining and accept that it is a drain on resources and that money could be spent on people who really need it !

  25. St. Mary's resident February 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I would quite happily take an increase in my Council Tax if it meant I did not have to foot the food costs, travel costs to school & after school club costs etc etc for my 2 children who live on St. Mary’s……….
    I too think Mundersley is a great facility but NOT free anymore…..
    Nothing is!!!!
    Way too long have people of Scilly expected hand outs…times have changed & Off Islands too….you need to recognise you are not that special, you are just part of Scilly!!!!!
    Get on with it or choose to live somewhere else,….. Simple!!

  26. E Pickles February 3, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Lets take St Agnes as an example
    The school has a deputy head master and a care taker who’s wages will add up to somewhere in the region of £60k pa, then add in the running costs of the building plus all the boat trips that already take place between St Agnes and St Mary’s and the costs of running St Agnes primary school are somewhere in the region of £100,000 pa for 6 pupils.
    Then add in the annual costs of Mundersley (@25%) and this figure rises to a minimum of £125,000 pa.
    You can buy an awful lot of boat trips for £125,000.

    Then multiply that figure for each other off island and that’s half a million pounds. Again, that’s a lot of boat trips. And these are conservative figures.
    Yes we all know you off islanders will moan like hell about it and, as you are over represented on the council and school governors, you will oppose any change to the status quo, but the cold hard facts are, it’s no longer viable.

  27. Sara February 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Oh my God!! Parents still have to pay for heating, ligthing ect. their own homes, they do not make any of the saving M Gove is suggesting, apart from 4 meals per week. They also do not have the option of sending their children to school with the cheaper option of a packed lunch. Would M Gove be happy to pay fo their childs education if in the same situation? I think not! Off island children are entitled to a free education like every other child in the county and should not be made to feel they are a drain on the global economy. With regards the subject of attendance – this is not an argument about missing lessons but one that seriously debates the SAFETY of our children. If it were children on that jet boat that hit rocks a few years ago we would not even be having this argument.
    The amount of bitterness and animosity from St. Mary’s residents towards off island students concerns me greatly – will it lead to bullying I wonder?
    St. Mary’s residents should appreciate that if off island roads need resurfacing they do it themselves, that if they want the luxury of a community centre they have to raise the money themselves, that they have no access to librarys, hair cuts, dentists etc. without paying for a boat trip. All opposition to Mundersley just comes across as bitter and very very greedy!

  28. local February 3, 2013 at 1:08 am

    I think where ever we live over here we all have to pay for it one way or another, so no good harping on about it. just look at the state of our roads, pavements, drains, etc. makes you wonder what all the money has been spent on over the years!!.
    Its time for changes and we all have to get on with it.simple as that!!.

  29. Off islander - hostel student February 2, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I don’t know why Basil presumes to know what contributions off island parents make towards the hostel.

    Perhaps he and ‘St. Mary’s resident’ would like to increase their council tax contributions to recompense off islanders who don’t benefit from maintenance of roads, and rubbish disposal for Tresco residents? St. Mary’s residents benefit from many ‘perks’ that off islanders just don’t receive.

    If they believe so strongly that off island children should be made to go to school by boat every day – do they also believe that off island parents should pay for the boating if it were to be a daily commute?? If you multiply the return boat fare of £8 by 5 days per week you get £40 in any case Basil – and that’s the basic cost of a return journey – not a special (not to mention the cost of buying a jet boat for st. Agnes….)

    I also suggest that those who are anti hostel – try a term of travelling daily in the winter months. The boat journey is not the only challenge – getting on and off the quays in bad weather is not something I would wish my children to be doing daily.

    I fully support Mundesley – and I think it is important to the cohesion of the islands and the community that the children go to school together (it might help prevent the kind of off island bashing that goes on on this forum!). But what if, rather than being boated daily, the off island children were to complete their secondary education on the off islands? It might be interesting to see the effect on the league tables for St. Mary’s. The off island children frequently achieve exemplary grades and make a valuable contribution to the school on St. Marys something which I think goes unappreciated on these pages. For every year of the 5 years I attended Mundesley off island children achieved the highest GCSE grades, despite being the ‘minority’ that Tony describes – let’s not underestimate their valuable contribution to the school. I believe it would be a sad day for St Mary’s if that were lost.

    Everyone is entitled to a free education – and safe and reasonable access to it.

    • Basil Rathbone February 3, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Off islander – Hostel student

      The figure of £30 per term was quoted to me by an off island parent last year and then they said it was voluntary and didn’t have to pay if they didn’t want to.

      Do you not think that the off islands parents should contribute something more realistic and release some of the financial burden upon the school?

      Of course if the school went to academy status the school could relinquish control of Mundesley to the Council. Why should Mundesley expenses come out of the education budget?

  30. Emma February 2, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Bedding laundry service is not provided by Mundesley, children bring their bedding home at the end of the weekend and parents launder it. The parents contribution is £50 per term.

    If pre-school was provided in the off island schools then this would save a boat to and fro each island twice a day which must save a substantial amount of money.

    I also think that St Marys and Mundesley is a vital part of the transition phase from Off Island to mainland education. Off Island to the mainland – a lot more of a concern than sending to Mundesley where they at least come home weekends and parents can always visit during the week.

    Also, the projected figures are wrong I believe, we have lost 6 children in the last few months and I think one or maybe even two have left Bryher.

    Please organise a public meeting so all the correct facts can be given to everyone and then people can debate.

  31. St. Mary's resident February 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Simple answer…..
    Keep it open but charge the parents for the running of it!!!!
    All freebies have gone at the school on St. Mary’s because of having to tighten belts so charge the off island parents for their children’s board & lodgings…… Nothing is free anymore.

  32. M Gove February 1, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    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 recession. All governments, companies and local authorities are having to make drastic reductions in costs, why should we be any different.
    The council already boat some children over on a daily basis, so why not do it for all them. Yes there will be times when the children won’t be able to get to school due to inclement weather, just like children on the mainland can’t get to school from time to time for the same reason, but in reality the days lost will be minimal.
    Off islanders who use Mundersley currently contribute £30 a term, let me repeat that ‘£30 a term’, for which they get food, lighting heating, bed laundry service, cleaning, water etc.
    It’s all very nice, but it’s no longer viable in today’s economic climate and finally, if you want your children to be able to socialise, don’t live on an off island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Whether you like it or not, it is inevitable that Mundersley and the off island school bases will be closing in the next few years

  33. Basil Rathbone February 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I wonder if the off island parents would be so willing to keep Mundesley going if they had to pay for it themselves.

    Instead of the £30 or so they contribute each half term or term perhaps they pay what it would cost to keep them at home, say £40 per week.

    Well off islanders would you be willing to pay that?

  34. Emma February 1, 2013 at 9:44 am

    What a hornets nest this has oppened up!

    I am pro Mundesley for several reasons; children able to participate in after school clubs, not having to boat down daily especially in winter when rough, wet and dark!

    Free meals, although true its only 4 nights a week during term time. Also, can I point out that we do still pay for school meals. there are also voluntary contributions made by parents for the hostel.

    Nursery boating is funded at present as someone commented earlier that this must cost the parent a lot of money.

    Do agree that if off island parents are for the closing of Mundesley then this could effect the closure of the off island schools!

    Kind of agree that we all knew this was the process when having children so probably living on the mainland or St Marys is one option if really anti the current system!

    I was apprehensive when my first child moved down, after a few months all my concerns were gone as I quickly saw the benefit of this system and can I also point out that they do have a fixed homework hour each night so they are not running around like a summer camp!

    Thank to Ann & Julian for looking after our children so well.

    And finally I think its nice that some ex hostel boarders have commented on this debate and not just the parents!

  35. an off islander February 1, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I think it’s really good that there is so much support for the off island parents and teachers (who do a remarkable job). I can’t imagine how terrible it would be for the off island schools to close, and would feel very uncomfortable sending my child off on a boat everyday, especially in the winter when the weather is as it has been this week.
    2 points that have been made have really offended me; to imply that parents are gaining financially from the situation is insane! Some people have already pointed out many reasons why but but not touched on the point that aside from being wrong this is just insulting. Second, to imply that off island children are not well rounded or loved as much as others is outrageous. They still have all those opportunities to bond with their parents and engage in conversation (and homework) at the weekend. I also think it prepares them very well – more so than life on St Marys – for going off to the mainland at the tender age of 16. I find off island young adults to be extremely mature and well rounded for their ages and better equipped for life than most.

  36. Pepper January 31, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Wasn’t this story published a few months ago with similar details? Why weren’t the houseparents or school asked to contribute to this article?

  37. Off Island Parent January 31, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Mundesley is expensive but a drop in the ocean to what off island schools cost.

    Surely if off island parents are saying close the hostel and use boating then this means the off island schools are not needed and they could boat down as well! Be careful what is wished for! Also, don’t forget the vast sum of money that has been invested in the new school which can easily cater for more children.

    There a a lot of after school clubs which are on weekdays which children would miss out on. Children are all different and have lots of different interests and hobbies so as for sharing boats and the cost it just not very likely! If the boats are provided then that’s fine but then no money is saved by closing Mundesley.

    I was dreading it when my first child went down to board but they settled in after a few months and all my anxieties were put to rest. Didn’t however stress out 6 years before the event, after all half the islands could be under the rising sea levels by then! But I do understand the parents feelings.

    As for daily boating, great idea on a nice day but not good when stormy seas and in the winter children would be boating each way in the dark.

    Free Childcare!! what is that supposed to mean? Older children do not need babysitters if parents want to go out and surely its rare that people do go out on a school night and for most of us we still have a younger one at home.

    You can’t compare a bus ride to a boat ride Tony but do get your point.

    As for being anonymous I think its fine if you write constructive comments but not if it gets nasty and bitter. I chose not to put my name as don’t want my children to get any grief and this does happen when parents enter debates like this.

    Can I say a big Thank You to house parents at Mundesley for looking after our children so well.

    In a nutshell!

    Mundesley closes so do the off island schools
    Mundesley stays then so do the schools

    Please please have a public meeting so we can all express our views!

  38. Ex-Student January 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    In my opinion Mundesley boarding house is very close to a necessity for the students. I understand that a lot of money is put into it and to some this is considered ‘a waste’, I seriously disagree. If you were to ship the students to and from school everyday then they miss out on the socialising outside of school with their friends on St.Mary’s (this could lead to isolation of the off-island students) also it would effect their chances of regularly attending out of school clubs as either a later boat would have to be put on or they may not be able to attend at all. Plus what happens if there is bad weather? Then they don’t get over to school on time at any point during the week. And to the parents who may be concerned about their children boarding during the week days from the age of 11, you send them off to college at 16 so in theory the students boarding at Mundesley are already preparing for the situation. Also there are all the advantages offered by Mundesley such as the specific time dedicated to homework and studying, which they may not get at home and there is also help provided by the staff there. My point is the boarding house is a kind of extension of the education and social life you give your children. Is it really fair to take that away from them?

  39. A very angry islander! January 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Well!!
    I am not sure where to begin. This has been a topic for debate for many years! As an off islander who is very aware of the system and knows many people who have done well through living at mundesley, I am quite angry by the comments off the two above.
    Are you aware that you are trying to help contribute to making teachers redundant by this potentially? Are you happy for your 4 year old to be boated daily without your supervision! I know not!
    I think that everyone is entitled to their opinion but to say that off island children will not know how to sit at a table to eat dinner and have no grounding is extremely short sighted as you are saying that all off island children that have now got their own children are potentially doing a bad job?! Well maybe you really are more suited to live on st Mary’s? As you will find that many,many off islanders will be quite hurt by your comments!

  40. Former Hostel Student January 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Making out that off island parents have it easy sending their children away is seriously offensive. As a former hostel student I know my parents found it difficult being apart for 4 nights a week – but at the same time knew it was in my best interests. As a student, I was extremely homesick – of course there were times it would have been nice to go home, but I still wouldn’t have wanted to make that daily commute and knew that the hostel was the best option.
    I appreciate Maralyn must want her children at home, but, for me, I would hate to subject my children to daily boat journeys back and forth (particularly in weather like we’ve experienced recently) – and let’s not forget that secondary school hours are very different to pre-school hours.
    Richard’s rudimentary maths doesn’t take into account the need to buy a jet boat for St. Agnes. Nor does it take into account fluctuating pupil numbers – a jet boat only holds 12, there were far more of us when I used to attend St. Marys. It’s not as straightforward as adding up the cost of a few trips. If there were 14 students at one time, for example, an entire trip would be needed (+ 2 crew) – not very cost effective!
    Let’s also remember that a journey from St. Agnes is not the same as from the other off islands – the stretch of water is very exposed and that crossing is regularly subject to delays – and can be very unpleasant. I haven’t yet spoken to a boatman who has endorsed the idea of daily school trips.
    I find it so sad that a former governor would willingly support money saving over quality of education – internet learning is not a substitute for face to face teaching as Tony suggests!
    I reiterate a point made earlier – whilst taking into account the pennies to be saved – let’s not forget the actual children in this debate.

  41. On the Fence January 31, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    As the name implies I see pros and cons but manely pros to it staying.

    I dreaded it when my first child was to move to Mundesley but after a few months all my anxieties were laid to rest and I soon realised the benefits to the child.

    Of course jet boats can go up and down to the school everyday with school children but then surely if this happens there is no need for off island schools so they will all close which will of course save an absolute fortune!

    There are a lot of out of school clubs during the week which most children would miss out on and boating would be too expensive unless provided and then this would add up to so much money that no money would be saved by closing it in the first place (false economy). It is important that all children on all islands are able to participate in these clubs.

    Parents would be concerned if their children go to and fro on very stormy days due to the safety aspect and unpleasantness for the children. (This is no critisism on boat crew who do a brilliant job looking after the children on the boats) Can I also point out that a boat ride isn’t like any bus ride I have ever had so not sure why that should come into it. Also, in the winter they would be boating in the dark twice a day!

    As for free childcare! not sure what that means, they would be at school anyway. Or is this refering to evenings where generally older children would not require babysitting and also like me there is usually another younger sibling to look after anyway. also, how many parents are off out every school night!

    I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the house parents at Mundesley for looking after our children so well, I always know they are in safe hands. No one really likes there child to semi-leave home at the age of 11.

    So what it boils down to is;

    Mundesley closes then surely so do the off island schools.
    Mundesley stays open then so do the schools.

  42. Joby Newton January 31, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Remember a jet boat holds 12 People……. It is not going to be simply 6 boats a day……

    I’ve posted on this topic several times before and I’m not going to bother going over the same ground.

    Richard you can’t compare a school bus with school boats and there are far more variables.

    If they shut down the hostel I can foresee a large number of Off Island children going to the Mainland to get a complete education (including access to after school clubs!!)

  43. try it January 31, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Put your children in a boat, in a gale, wave goodbye. Then watch as they head off, waves breaking over them and imagine the day when the engine fails………
    Or just think of the financial benefits.

  44. Edward January 31, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Phew! I think Mr and Mrs Hobbs must have paid out a small fortune in boat fares getting their child to pre school, I think that they have a good case to shut Mundesley, and may I say very brave of them to speak out against the other off Islanders who value it.

  45. Maralyn Hobbs January 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    This is a very touchy subject to say the least, and everyone will have a different opinion. I am dreading the year 2018 when my first daughter will have to board, and then 2020 when my 2nd daughter will, why can’t they boat each day? I don’t want my children to miss out on all those after school activities and chance of social development, but at the end of the day how many weekday after school clubs are there? How many on average would a St Marys parent take up? I presume most of these clubs have a membership fee, session fee, cost for uniform/kit to join in these activities, and not everyone can afford the costs of all the clubs, or would even want to commit to many, and will restrict children to so many anyway! Some clubs happen on a weekend anyway, and as off island parents we are able to access help towards boating so our children are included in these activities. As to out of school social development why can’t they do that with their respective island children, it’s not like they’re going to socialise with all (150? how many children at St Marys School?) They’re going to have their cliques and best friends, and parents will encourage those relationships with the odd sleep over at a friends house. But they’re still young and impressionable and need a strong family base, somewhere they can come home and talk to family members and grow, I haven’t chosen to have children to send them packing to boarding school, and this it what it feels like. They still need their home and family, and we still need them!!! I want to cook for my children and sit to the table as a family and have all those conversations you would, I want to sit and help them with their home work and do fun things afterwards, I want to grow and bond with my children and watch them mature into young adults. Yes they do gain alot of personal independance from the experience of Mundesley which helps with the transition of moving back to the mainland for college, but all the St Marys children have to go through this too without Mundesley and they do just fine. After all, “THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME”!!!

    • Robert January 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      So when you chose to have children, where did you think you’d send them? did you not know about off Island life? I went down to Mundesley House and so do my children, its part of our way of Island life and I dread it when my children will eventually leave home but I’m also excited for them for what the future holds for them…life

  46. Richard Hobbs January 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    My 2 children will form part of the intake in 2018 mentioned in the article. I know previous generations of students may have loved staying there and gained a lot from the after school activities but to be honest if it were possible to have my children home every evening i would rather take that selfish option, thank you very much. My wife has been taking our 4 year old to pre-school every day to St Marys for quite some time now and i think i am right in saying that she has yet to encounter a cancelled boat. If you consider a special is £40 each way and multiply it by 2 thats £80 return per day. Multiplied by 3 islands (Bryher and Tresco are one boat) and that is £240 per day. Multiply that by 4 days (monday down and friday back is already being paid) and thats £960 per week. Multiply that by the 39 week school term and thats £37440 per year. A saving of £54560 per year. When i was at school a very very long time ago, i left the house at 7.45am and was home by 4.30pm having a 40 minute bus ride each way and it just became a part of life. I dont think a daily boat ride is that much more arduous?

  47. a very annoyed local January 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Clearly ‘just a local’ has no idea how different life on the off islands is to St. Mary’s and hasn’t thought the situation out with both sides of the argument in mind. He/she is thinking only about the supposed financial benefits to the parent; when in fact s/he ought to consider the fact that off islanders pay the same amount of council tax as St. Mary’s residents yet receive few services for it – on some islands for example there is no rubbish collection, no street lights, no road maintenance etc. Also, boating costs a fortune for those people who have so fortunately had their work times changed (you seem a little bitter about this too) and would have to be funded as many people simply couldn’t afford to send their children to school, so actually it would still cost the council a fortune.As it is if off islanders need a hair cut or to see a dentist etc they have to pay, they also pay more for food and deliveries so are hardly living the life of riley off the child allowance they recieve. And what about out of school activities – are these children to miss out? Some people seem to think that attendance wouldn’t be affected because of access to jet boats but on days like yesterday I would not want to put a young child on a boat for fear of their safety, and they would still need to be escorted there and back anyhow.
    I also get the impression that you are not a parent as you seem to think that not seeing your child all week or being part of their schooling is nice. Try to think outside the box please when considering the arguments – for the sake of Scilly’s youngters rather then your pocket.

  48. Pat Hayden January 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Perhaps “just a local” who is not prepared to reveal his or her identity in a most cowardly way would like to consider how much council tax rebate the off-islanders should receive for not having street lighting, proper roads, transport, library, easy access to health services, refuse collection etc. etc.

  49. Tony Smith January 30, 2013 at 9:45 am

    As a school governor 15 years ago, I was out voted by off-island governors when I proposed closing Mundesley as a large drain on the Scholl budget.
    The same excuses were used back then as well.

    I lived for many years in Scotland, where my children went to school by bus. If we had snow the bus wouldn’t turn up, this wasn’t the end of the world, and they tend to get a lot more days of snow in Scotland compared to weather that the new jet boats cannot operate in.

    As for after school activities, special boats can be booked, and if combined with several pupils the cost will be split up. This way the off island parents would be treated exactly the same as mainland parents who’s children travel to school.

    In these days of computers etc, if for what ever reason a boat cannot convey the kids to school, work can still be set so that the pupil doesn’t miss out on school work.

    Mundesley has always been a massive drain on the educational budget, but for only a minority of the pupils. In the current climate, I do feel it is a luxury that we can no longer afford.

  50. Issy January 30, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I think it’s great that a consultation is starting so people can have the chance to show how vital Mundesley is. I can’t see how it would work effectively if students were going back and forth. I did extra school clubs before and after school. Would I be given a £40 special at 630am every morning to do those and then back at 6pm? Or would all the school kids have to come with me at 630am to save money. Then who would supervise them between 645am and when school starts? And the same for after school. Or would it mean we couldn’t take part in after school clubs?

    I also had a health condition which meant about every 4 weeks it was impossible for me to be in school. I could go back to Mundesley, recover and often be back in school after lunch. Would the council pay £80 for me to go home for a couple of hours? And that was just me. There were 25-30 other individuals.

    I think implying off islanders are on some kind of council tax scam is unhelpful. I’ve heard some of them quite like their children and actually find it quite hard to be separated from them for 5 days a week when they are only 11.

    Times are tough and perhaps the council can come up with a better plan than the hostel. But I don’t think the maths is as simple as 6 £40 specials a day.

  51. Just a local January 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    It’s about time that mundesley was shut down as a boarding house. There is absolutely no need for it anymore. The off island parents are onto a winner, no cooking, monitoring of homework, parenting all week, etc, whilst i believe not having to pay anything for this and pocketing family allowance.!!! They can get the jet boats daily like many off island people that work on st Mary’s. times have moved forward. Mundesley is a drain on resources, close it down, and turn it into much needed housing.