PEOPLE in Dulverton and the surrounding area breathed a sigh of relief after a controversial plans to change the age range at the town’s schools were dropped, ending months of uncertainty.
It was proposed that the first school would take children aged three to seven and Dulverton Middle School would take children aged seven to 11.
It would have seen the loss of a middle school in the Dulverton area, resulting in pupils being sent elsewhere.
The plans caused a split in the community and further afield, with Minehead Middle School and West Somerset Community College engaged in a battle of their own for some time after both proposed to change their age ranges to deal with the influx of pupils from Dulverton.
The decision came following the announcement that the governing body of the Exmoor Federation had resolved not to support the proposal to change the age range.
A letter from Peter Lewis, interim director of children’s services with Somerset County Council, said the authority would be taking no further action on the matter.
In a statement to parents, Dave Smith, chair of governors of the Exmoor Federation, said the county council’s move brought to an end “a lengthy and, some would say, tortuous process”.
The governing body had originally supported the age range changes, and Mr Smith said the decision would not have changed the minds of those who supported the change.
He said: “We are united in our commitment to make the decision work for the benefit of all the children in our area.
“We hope the whole community will join with us in that endeavour.
“It is a matter of disappointment to me that the whole process has taken so much time and has left families in a state of prolonged uncertainty.
“The focus must be on the future, and our vigour will be devoted to ensuring that the young people of our area thrive, prosper and succeed.”
Mr Lewis added, however, that the decision did not prevent the governing body from returning to the “question of the suitability of the age range in the area at any time in the future”.
A report will be published with transparency for the public record to explain changes that have occurred since the original request from the governing body to consider the age range, along with responses to the consultation.
- ARE you pleased that the age range changes aren’t going ahead or did you support them? Tell us by emailing West Somerset reporter Danielle Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or commenting below.