Kingsmead School head teacher defends catchment area expansion possibility

Somerset County Gazette: Mark Griffin, head teacher at Kingsmead School in Wiveliscombe. Mark Griffin, head teacher at Kingsmead School in Wiveliscombe.

PARENTS have been reassured that their children will not miss out on a place at Kingsmead School if it decides to expand its catchment area.

The school could be expanded to accommodate students from parts of West Somerset if proposals to lower the age range at Dulverton Middle School are pushed through.

However, Kingsmead head teacher Mark Griffin said parents should not be worried about the potential knock-on effect or overcrowding.

He said: “There’s no threat to any pupil currently living in Wiveliscombe or our catchment area.

“The changes would have no negative impact on our teaching and, in fact, I believe they would enhance the breadth of our curriculum.

“However, nothing has been decided yet. We were asked by the local authority whether we’d consider expanding our catchment area and we’re consulting widely.”

Currently, children aged nine to 13 can attend the middle school, but Somerset County Council’s shake-up could lower the age range to seven to 11.

It could see Kingsmead take on some of the older children from September, 2015.

Mr Griffin said: “I believe if it’s decided to close Dulverton to Years 7 and 8 we’d be able to cope more comprehensively because we can strategically plan to get the necessary resources, staff and buildings in place.

“It’s much easier to deal with a rapid expansion than a staggered one over a number of years.

“It’s clear that our school’s growing and we already know it’s going to expand further, given new housing developments in Wiveliscombe, Milverton and Bishops Lydeard, so if it’s the case that Dulverton is to close it seems to make sense in making many of them Kingsmead students.

“I believe we’re the closest school and we’re a good school.”

Mr Griffin said the school will be reaching out to more parents in the next edition of its newsletter.

If you would like to view the admission arrangements or comment on the proposals, see somerset.gov.uk/admissions by March 1.

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