Dulverton schools’ age ranges set to change

Somerset County Council today (Friday 18 March) agreed to change the age range at Dulverton Middle and Community School.

The school age range will change to 7 to 11 year olds from September 2016 with the school providing for year groups 3, 4, 5 and 6. The school will no longer provide for years 7 and 8 and will become a junior school.

In recent years the numbers of pupils in years 7 and 8 at the school have fallen as a result of fewer children living in the area and parents choosing to send their children to other schools in year 7 making it difficult to deliver an appropriate curriculum for those age groups. By reducing the age range the school can focus on the key stage two curriculum, will be more financially stable and able to concentrate on delivering the ambitious vision that the Governing Body has set out for the school and The Exmoor Federation as a whole.

The decision comes following a proposal from the Governing Body of The Exmoor Federation to change the school system in the Dulverton area from three tiers to two. They concluded that a two tier system is in the best interests of the children in the face of future budget constraints.

More than 80% of the 145 people who responded to the consultation agreed that a two tier system would be better for local children.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member with a responsibility for Children and Families and county councillor for Dulverton and Exmoor, said: “This is a really exciting time for The Exmoor Federation. Together the local authority and the Federation Governors have reached a solution that ensures children on southern Exmoor can have the highest quality education now and in the future.”

The governors of The Exmoor Federation have also agreed to change the age range of All Saints’ Church of England Voluntary Controlled First School from September 2016.The school will become an Infant School with an age range of 3 to 7, but retaining its nursery for 0 to 4 year olds.

Cllr Nicholson continued: “All three schools in The Exmoor Federation, at Exford and Dulverton, will continue to work closely together to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements in September. Everyone is absolutely focused on providing the very best opportunities and education to Exmoor’s children.”

Alan Jones, Chair of Governors for The Exmoor Federation, said: “I am delighted with the decision by the county council which supports and implements the decision already taken by the Governors. The most pleasing thing is that the Governors, staff, parents, pupils and community are now very clear about the future of The Exmoor Federation schools, and it is a very bright future indeed.”

The change in age ranges for both schools will take affect at the start of the 2016/17 school year in September 2016.

To view a copy of the decision paper, go to: http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/portfolio%2017/2016%20decisions/Change%20of%20age%20range%20for%20Dulverton%20Middle%20and%20Community%20School.pdf