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Schools' fate to be decided

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: November 05, 2013

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EDUCATION chiefs are set to make a decision on the future of three schools on Exmoor later this month.

Somerset County Council is reviewing All Saints' First School, Dulverton, Exford Church of England First School and Dulverton Middle and Community School which all form the Exmoor Federation.

All three could be affected if the authority scraps the three-tier education system – a format adopted by West Somerset and a handful of other council boundaries across the country.

A council spokesman said: "We have been exploring all possible options for the continuing provision of education in southern Exmoor and are looking to approve a strategy before a decision is made in November.

"Following this, there will be a period of further public consultation if required."

The council said a consultation exercise on the proposed changes was carried-out last month and drop-in events were held at the schools affected in the summer.

West Somerset is one of the few areas of the country which operates a three-tier education system where children attend a first school from five to nine, a middle school from nine-13, and an upper school until they reach 18, the council says.

A number of parents have expressed concerns that if the changes are imposed children will be transferred to West Somerset Community College, in Minehead.

The college is proposing to change the age range of its students, from 13-19 to 11-19, as governors look to "develop a closer relationship with the Exmoor Federation."

Martin McNeill, chair of governors at West Somerset, told parents it would be "in the interests" of some Dulverton pupils to transfer to the community college From September 1, 2015, if the Government gives approval.

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