School structure in Dulverton could change under new proposals

Somerset County Gazette: School structure in Dulverton could change under new proposals School structure in Dulverton could change under new proposals

THE school system in Dulverton could change under new proposals put forward by governors from the Exmoor Federation.

Somerset County Council has confirmed that parents and members of the community will be asked for their views on the proposed changes.

The Exmoor Federation is made up of Exford First, All Saints First in Dulverton, and Community Middle Schools.

There are no changes proposed for Exford First School, however a number of proposals have been put forward for the remaining schools.

The proposals would see Dulverton First become an Early Years and Infant School for children aged 0-7 and Dulverton Middle would become a junior school for children aged 7-11.

Kingsmead School in Wiveliscombe would consult on a change in its admission arrangements that would give priority to the Year 7 children living in the Dulverton Middle catchment at age 11 from September 2015 and also Year 8 transfers.

The Federation has already written to parents and held drop-in sessions to gauge local opinion about making changes.

They have now asked the County Council to start a formal statutory consultation process.

If the changes are approved, transport will be provided to take pupils to Kingsmead.

The legal right to free transport to their nearest school will also continue, depending on where families live.

Cllr Franes Nicholson, Somerset County councillor for Dulverton and Exmoor said: “Earlier this year Governors asked the local authority to work with them to try to find the best way to continue to support good education across southern Exmoor at a time when budgets are under extreme pressure.

“There has already been very widespread informal consultation with staff, parents, pupils and the wider community and careful analysis of all the possibilities, leading to the formal consultation that will take place now.

“No decision here will be easy, so it is really important that everyone who has something to say or any ideas to contribute should take the opportunity now of responding to the consultation.”

Ian Fleming, chair of governors for the Exmoor Federation, said: “This has been a difficult decision for the governing body to arrive at, but after carrying out our own review over several months we feel this decision is the best way forward to sustain the education of children living on this side of the moor for the foreseeable future.”

Somerset County Council will shortly be launching the formal consultation process which will allow everyone to have their say on these proposals.

The results of this consultation will be considered before any decisions are made next year.

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