Crewkerne and Ilminster future schools provision enters next phase

Plans to re-envision how education is delivered in the Crewkerne and Ilminster area have today (21 October) moved a step forward at Somerset County Council’s Cabinet meeting.

Councillors voted to proceed with consulting with the community over proposals to move from the current three-tier school system to a two-tier model of Primary and Secondary schools.

Cabinet heard proposals today which set out changing the current upper school, (Wadham School) to a secondary school, laying a solid foundation for the school to continue the improvement seen in recent years and protect its ability to provide a wide range of subject choices for the long-term.

Proposals would see the high performing first and middle schools in the area move to teaching the primary age range, reducing the number of school changes pupils would make in their educational careers.

Councillor Faye Purbrick, Cabinet Member for Education and Transformation at Somerset County Council, said: “It is an absolute priority for Somerset County Council to secure high quality education for every pupil in the county. The number of pupils coming into schools in Crewkerne and Ilminster has been reducing for many years and an independent review advised the current arrangement is unsustainable. Without action the excellent education our young people deserve is at risk, hence it’s vitally important we act rapidly to put schools in the area on a stable footing.

“Last year’s independent review recommended a number of changes to the structure of schools to secure the aspirational education we want for all children and young people aged 4 to 18 in the area. We listened to people’s views on several different options and the latest proposal was developed using the feedback gathered from these results.

“I welcome the fact that Cabinet has today agreed to move the new proposals forward to the next stage. This is one of those moments when democratic engagement is critical and therefore I encourage all of those who wish to give their views to do so. The opinions of the community will be instrumental when Cabinet makes a decision next year.”

The consultation is expected to run for four weeks in November and will provide an opportunity for those who wish to have their say on the Council’s plans. Depending on the outcome of that listening exercise, it would be followed by publication of notices and a further four-week period when members of the public can respond.

The latest information, including any links to the online consultation once it proceeds, will be available at: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/crewkerne-and-ilminster-strategic-school-review/

Cabinet is expected to make a final decision on the way forward in 2021.