The plan to rebuild Tipton St John Primary School could take a new turn at a meeting on Monday (July 8).

The full board of school governors is due to make a decision on whether to move forward with the scheme to build a new school at Thorne Farm in Ottery St Mary.

The Department for Education, which is funding the rebuilding, supports the plan, along with Devon County Council which owns the site.

But a public consultation carried out by the governors found that 96 per cent of respondents were ‘overwhelmingly in opposition’ to the proposal to relocate the school to Thorne Farm, feeling strongly that it is a part of the village community and should be rebuilt on a local site.

On Monday, June 24 the governors met to discuss the responses. Afterwards, they announced that “Governors share the view that moving the school out of the village should be a final resort and after a robust discussion it was agreed that further engagement is required with Devon County Council to determine a way forward.

“The Governors' next step will be to contact Devon County Council to gain a deeper understanding, which will likely be impacted by this period of election sensitivity.

“We will keep you updated and it is hoped that at the next Full Governing Board Meeting on 8th July, Governors will make a Board decision on how to proceed.”

Another factor that could affect the plans for the school is the offer of a plot of land for a rebuild by Sundial Nursing Home in Tipton St John.  

The Evolve Care Group, which runs the Sundial home, has said it would be happy to support the project to build a new school in Tipton St John. The company is currently considering a redevelopment of the care home to offer more modern facilities, and said a new school could fit into that proposal, depending on advice from planning consultants. The land at Sundial Nursing Home was not included in the Department for Education’s assessment of available sites because it had not been advertised for potential development.

Two other sites in Tipton were considered, along with another in Ottery, but the DfE put forward Thorne Farm as the most viable location.

However, many local residents feel that the DfE assessment was inconsistent in its approach to the four sites, and are hoping the Governors’ reluctance to move the school outside the village will lead to these other options being reconsidered.