AN EDUCATION breakthrough has been made according to Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner, following a meeting with education minister Lord Nash.
At the meeting on Wednesday Mr Turner, was joined by newly elected Isle of Wight Councillors, independent Cllr Richard Priest and Conservative Cllr Chris Whitehouse.
The four spent an hour discussing plans on how to improve the Isle of Wight education system, after several schools were branded as 'failing’ and one was issued with a notice to improve.
In a statement issued today (Friday) Mr Turner described the meeting as very positive.
He said: "Lord Nash was clearly impressed that the two newly elected councillors were so knowledgeable about the issues that need to be addressed and had such a positive commitment to work together for the good of Island youngsters and schools.
"All differences must be put aside to help those schools in difficulties improve the standard of education they provide — it is far too important not to.
"The Minister has given us all some food for thought about the way forward and a list of things to do and Richard and Chris will be discussing this with their respective groups over the next few days.
"In my view this is the most pressing issue facing the new council. The meeting had been organised for some time so I was very pleased to have been able to provide such an early opportunity for the two largest groups elected last week to demonstrate their shared commitment to help our schools deliver better results."
Cllr Priest said: "The meeting with Lord Nash within days of the election of a new council, reflects an immediate cross-chamber commitment to address the consequences of school re-organisation on the Island.
"It is also a reflection of our intention to work positively with our MP and other partner agencies in the best interests of students, parents and staff, demonstrating that there is a different way of working which puts the needs of the Island community above party politics."
Cllr Whitehouse, the new secretary of the Conservative group said: "The need to drive-up standards in Island schools is clear and urgent.
"It is far too important an issue with which to play petty party politics. Every member of the Island Conservative Group will be working hard to find practical solutions to the problems that remain.
"We will both challenge and support the new administration in this area of work. With five schools in and around my Newport West Ward this will be my highest priority as a councillor in the interests of our local children and the children of the whole Island.
"For decades, the Island has had a disappointing history of low educational aspiration and under achievement. Working together we can and must break that cycle."