Consultation on Dulverton school changes to begin next week

Consultation on Dulverton school changes to begin next week

DULVERTON Middle School. PHOTO: Steve Guscott.

ALL Saints First School in Dulverton. PHOTO: Steve Guscott.

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PEOPLE'S views are being sought on proposals that could see changes to the age ranges of two Dulverton schools.

Somerset County Council is asking parents and members of the public to comment on the proposals in a consultation that starts next week (February 3).

If accepted, the proposals would see Dulverton All Saints’ First School take children aged three to seven and Dulverton Middle School, children aged seven to 11.

The changes would come into effect from September 2015. Dulverton First School currently provides education for pupils aged four to nine and Dulverton Middle, nine to 13.

A new national funding formula for schools meant significant changes had to be made to the current structure or curriculum of the Exmoor Federation of Schools; which includes Dulverton All Saints' and Exford First Schools and Dulverton Middle School.

The governors requested the County Council’s help in drawing up options that would enable all three schools to remain sustainable and continue to provide good quality education.

There is no proposed change to the age range at Exford First School. Following these discussions, the governors have now requested the County Council formally consult upon the proposed age range changes.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, cabinet member responsible for Children and Families at Somerset County Council said: “We want to ensure we can maintain a high quality education on all three sites within the Exmoor Federation of Schools and are urging members of the public to have their say on our proposals.

“If agreed, all three schools will continue to work closely together.

"The major change will be the removal of full-time secondary education from Dulverton Middle School. "

Instead parents will have the opportunity and choice to send their children to other secondary schools.”

Cllr Nicholson added: “As County Councillor for Dulverton and Exmoor I urge everyone with an interest in the future of education in Dulverton and the whole of its catchment to come the drop-in sessions or the public meeting, or both, to discuss the proposals and give their views.”

Matthew Pickett, the acting chair of Governors for the Exmoor Federation, said: “The long-term sustainability of providing exemplary education within the Exmoor Federation has always been the motivating factor behind the considerable amount of work and investigation which has brought us to this point.

“Everyone affected by this proposal should take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the consultation process to ensure that the decision ultimately taken will reflect what is best for our children.”

Parents, pupils and members of the Dulverton community have already hit out at proposals to change the system as reported by the County Gazette last week. 

Minehead Middle School and West Somerset College have also announced plans to change their schooling structure in response to the proposals in Dulverton.

The middle school are considering teaching students up to GCSE age and the college has proposed lowering its age range to Year 7, as also reported last week.

Somerset County Council will be holding a drop-in event on Tuesday February 11 from 2pm – 6pm at Dulverton Town Hall where those interested can discuss these proposals in more detail with officers and give their feedback.

This will be followed by a more formal consultation meeting at 7-9pm.

There is also a drop-in event session taking place at Exford First School on Thursday 27 February, 3-6pm.

To take part in the consultation, click here or go to www.somersetconsults.org.uk and click on the relevant heading. You can also request a paper copy of the survey by calling 01823 355828. The consultation will close on March 24.

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