Five Islands School

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The Five Islands School
Established 2002
Type Federated voluntary controlled comprehensive
Religion Church of England
Headteacher Linda Todd
Location Carn Gwaval, Church Road,
St Mary's
Isles of Scilly
TR21 0NA
Coordinates: 49°54′45″N 6°18′18″W / 49.9125°N 6.305°W / 49.9125; -6.305
Local authority Council of the Isles of Scilly
DfE number 420/3005
DfE URN 133554 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 280
Gender Mixed
Ages 4–16
Website Official website

The Five Islands School is the first federated school in the United Kingdom, providing primary and secondary education for children from 3–16 at five sites across the Isles of Scilly.


Tresco and Bryher School, Tresco
St Agnes School

Secondary education (up to GCSE) is provided only on the most populous island of St Mary's. There, it was based at the Carn Thomas site, on the eastern edge of Hugh Town, on the road to Porth Mellon, but in 2011 relocated to a new school complex at Carn Gwaval, adjacent to an existing primary base there, between Hugh Town and Old Town. Secondary pupils from the other islands are given free board at Mundesley Hostel during the school week, returning home at the weekends and holidays.[1]

The four primary education bases are at Carn Gwaval, near Old Town — for St Mary's pupils (combined since 2011 with the sole secondary education base); on Tresco, near Old Grimsby — for pupils from that island and the neighbouring island of Bryher; on St Martin's; and on St Agnes.


The former Carn Thomas Secondary School site, St Mary's

The secondary school and four primary schools were formerly five separate schools. While the smaller schools were praised by inspectors, the two larger schools on St Mary's were judged as inadequate. In response, the government forced a fresh start as a federated school, which opened in April 2002 and subsequently the other off islands bases were also federated.

An inspection in June and July 2003 again found the standard of education at the St Mary's sites to be inadequate, and the school was placed in special measures until 2005.

Under a succession of heads, the school has become a successful and cohesive federation, judged "outstanding" by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) in 2007.[2][3] The school's GCSE results are now the highest in South West England.[4]

In 2008, the school was given funding of £13 million to build a new 3–16 school complex on a site adjacent to the existing Carn Gwaval primary school.[5] This development took place 2010–11 and opened in time for the 2011–12 school year, which resulted in the secondary school moving permanently away from the Carn Thomas site, as well as the primary pupils at Carn Gwaval also moving into the new neighbouring school complex. The former primary school building was modernised and extended, becoming the island's main indoor sports and fitness centre.


  1. ^ "The Five Islands School". Council of the Isles of Scilly. Retrieved 25 December 2008. 
  2. ^ The Five Islands School, Office for Standards in Education.
  3. ^ "Case study: Five Islands school, Scilly". Cambridge Education. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  4. ^ William Stewart (29 August 2008). "The ferryboat federation". TES connect. Retrieved 25 December 2008. 
  5. ^ "Scillies school to get £13m makeover". Western Morning News. 30 August 2008. Retrieved 15 February 2016.