PARENTS, pupils and members of the Dulverton community have hit out at proposals to change the town’s schooling system.
Currently, three schools form the Exmoor Federation – Exford First, All Saints First, in Dulverton, and Dulverton Middle School.
The proposals would see the middle school changing to a junior school for children aged seven to 11, while Dulverton First would become an early years and infant school for children aged nought to seven.
Children in the area would have priority to attend Kingsmead Secondary School, in Wiveliscombe.
Jan Ross, former teacher and community education manager at Dulverton Middle School, said: “Dulverton Middle School has long enjoyed a great reputation for its academic excellence with past pupils of the school recently achieving 71% success by gaining five or more GCSE grades A*- C, compared with the Somerset average of 56.5% and the average of West Somerset College of 49%.
“The schools work well together; they should not be trying to change that.”
Sarah Puttock, a mum-of-three from Dulverton, said she and her husband were considering moving from Dulverton to make getting to school easier for her children.
The 41-year-old said: “We love Dulverton, it is a beautiful town and a great place to bring up children.
“I know that the three-tier schooling system works well especially in a rural area.
“My eldest child, who is 16 and attends West Somerset College, has been through it and has done well.
“I don’t know how the council can expect 11- and 12-year-olds to travel at least 45 minutes each way to go to school.
“They’ll be losing out on so many levels; it’s a longer day for them, they will miss out on school when the weather is bad because the buses won’t be running and socially they’ll miss out too,” she said.
Sarah has a 12-year-old who attends the middle school in Dulverton and a five-year-old who would be attending.
She added: “The children have to come first and should be put first. “
What worries me is that the people making these decisions aren’t putting the children first and instead are putting finances first.
“I think we are being overlooked.”
Somerset County Council is finalising plans for a consultation on the proposed changes.