Scores of parents attend Sidmouth schools ‘merger’ event

PUBLISHED: 11:00 04 February 2011 | UPDATED: 12:38 04 February 2011

Headteachers Paul Walker (St Nicholas), Hilary Williams (Sidmouth Infants) and Viv Craig (All Saints) were kept very busy answering questions from parents at the public discussion at Kennaway House. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 1637-05-11SH

Headteachers Paul Walker (St Nicholas), Hilary Williams (Sidmouth Infants) and Viv Craig (All Saints) were kept very busy answering questions from parents at the public discussion at Kennaway House. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 1637-05-11SH

Archant

SCORES of parents met with headtheachers and education chiefs this week to discuss controversial plans to merge three Sidmouth schools into one.

SCORES of parents met with headteachers and education chiefs this week to discuss controversial plans to merge three Sidmouth schools into one.

Mums and dads descended on Kennaway House on Tuesday for an information session over a mooted move to amalgamate St Nicholas Junior, All Saints Infants and Sidmouth Infants schools.

Governing bodies of the three schools approached education authority Devon County Council (DCC) with proposals- which could become a reality by the start of the next school year in September.

Parents who spoke to the Herald hailed the event as “helpful”, but many still had reservations.

“It was a useful exercise. I still feel a bit cynical,” said Ross Clarkson, who has a child at St Nick’s.

“I wasn’t entirely happy when the first letter came out stating school roles were falling in a town that’s got lots of new houses going up,” said another dad.

“It seemed like a done deal, but the people from DCC gave me assurances it’s not.

“Whether, at the end of the day, we end up with something better remains to be seen.”

Julian Bartlett has a daughter at All Saints and said: “It was helpful, however, quite frustrating.

“On of my concerns is there’s insufficient information for us to consider what has been proposed properly. My beef is we’re being rushed into a decision- and such a significant one. There are a lot of other solutions that could be discussed.”

Mr Bartlett wanted to know what role the Church of England would play in the proposed new setup.

Headteachers at the three schools insisted proposals will safeguard youngsters’ education in the town for years to come and ensure standards are maintained.

They said, without change ,Sidmouth would not have three schools in a few years whatever happens.

They emphasised the schools are currently seeking views and no decision has been made.

A public consultation over the proposal will end on February 18. DCC has vowed another consultation will take place before a final decision could be made in May.


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