A TRUCE regarding the schooling saga in West Somerset has been made between Minehead Middle School and West Somerset College.
Both the school and college had plans to change their age intake in response to Somerset County Council’s proposal to changing the schooling system in Dulverton.
The college was considering taking students from the age of 11 while the middle school said it would look at keeping students on until the age of 16.
But now they have decided to scrap these plans and instead work together to create the ‘best education for young learners’.
They are looking to forge stronger links through an exchange of governors, each agreeing to co-opt one governor from the other school onto its governing body.
West Somerset College is looking to set up similar arrangements with Danesfield and Dulverton Middle Schools.
A statement from the chair of West Somerset College’s governors, Martin McNeill said: “We see the exchange of governors and sharing of responsibility for pre-GCSE secondary education as important steps towards a ‘one-tier’ system in which the same standards are applied across the area and staff from different schools work together.”
Both governing bodies say they remain ‘gravely concerned’ at the possible impact of the loss of secondary education in Dulverton.
They say that it will result in a reduction of £600,000 a year in the funding coming into the area for secondary education.
Mr McNeill said: “Recent Ofsted inspections have confirmed that all parts of West Somerset’s education system are working well.
“This is good news both for our young people and for the wider community.
“But to deliver a truly outstanding education we need to make sure that all these separate parts are working together.
“The agreement that we have reached with Minehead Middle School paves the way for a joined-up approach across West Somerset that will lead to a stepchange in what learners are able to achieve.”
Minehead Middle School’s chair of governors, Martina Forster added: “Our aim is to significantly improve the educational outcomes for all our young people.
“This will only happen if we continue to develop smooth progression across the transition years 8 and 9.
“We see this as both an exciting and unique project and so we have put our age-range extension plans aside and we will strive for rapid improvement through positive partnerships as the way to outstanding results.”