GOVERNORS at West Somerset College have voted to push forward plans to create a single body to run schools across the district.
At a meeting on Monday, they backed the idea of creating a Multi-Academy Trust, which would unite several schools under a single governing body.
Chair of governors at the college, Martin McNeill, described the plan as a ‘one-tier’ system which would integrate education from nought to 19 years.
He said it would create savings in back office costs, give a consistent approach with shared opportunity for learning and put the focus on children, not organisation.
The college says it now wants to invite schools across the region to join the trust Mr McNeill added: “We have been looking at various models and we have decided that a multi-academy trust would be the best one for the schools.
“We want to have a single system of education in West Somerset. “There have been concerns about the lack of democracy but the governing body would be varied, making sure we have governors from all of our areas.
“Already on the college governing body we have people from Exford, Porlock, Minehead; who is to say that cannot continue?”
At another meeting in Dulverton on Tuesday, Mr McNeill told a roomful of parents that a multi-academy trust would be an alternative to Dulverton Middle closing.
He added: “We really like working with Dulverton.
“Dulverton pupils do very well in college and there is an excellent transition process.
“We want to continue that but Dulverton could not be an academy on its own – that’s why we want to create a Multi-Academy.”
The plans for a multi-academy trust are separate from the college’s proposals to teach pupils from Year 7 upwards.
Mr McNeill said that would only happen if the education system in Dulverton changed.
He added: “We will now be looking to persuade our fellow governors at the Exmoor and Quantock Federations, at Minehead Middle School and at the self-governing first schools across the area that a multi-academy trust is the best way of achieving the outcomes for our young people that we would all like to see.”
A spokesman for Dulverton Middle said the school did not wish to comment.
Ian Bradbury, head teacher of Danesfield Middle School said: “We have always been keen to work closely with other partners in education; we pride ourselves with on our relationship with Knights Templar and the West Somerset College.
“Any suggestion that leads to closer collaboration rather than confrontation will be welcomed by us.
“The best interest of children is always served by colleagues working together.”