Government allocate £750k in funding for school move to Ottery

Hugo Swire

Hugo Swire - Credit: Archant

East Devon MP says its been a ‘real team effort’ to secure funding to try to move flood prone school to Ottery St Mary.

Government education bosses have recognised the ‘risk to life’ posed by flooding in Tipton St John and allocated £750,000 to relocate the primary school.

East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ that the Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening agreed this week to contribute the money towards its move to Ottery St Mary.

The MP has been working with Devon County Council (DCC), the school and the local diocesan board to find a solution to the school’s flooding problems.

The school is looking to move west of Ottery St Mary as its lower site can be left under water if the Metcombe Brook or River Otter flood.

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Sir Hugo said: “I have been relentlessly lobbying education ministers and making the case for extra funding so I am absolutely delighted with this outcome. Extracting additional funding from government departments is never easy and there were times when I thought all the effort might be in vain.”

“On top of this, a brand new primary school in Ottery is great news for families in the town as well as Tipton St John and the surrounding villages. The population of Ottery is rising and this new school will help to ensure that the local education system is able to cope with the growing numbers.”

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Sir Hugo added the Environment Agency said the relocation would take pupils and staff ‘out of danger.’

Colin Butler, head teacher of Tipton St John Primary School, said: “For many years the problems of flooding have led to a growing concern about safety and an increased challenge as to how we can deliver an education fit for the 21st Century if we are to remain in damp, cramped buildings.

‘My reaction to the news that some funding had been secured from the DFE was tremendous excitement and huge relief. It has been a long journey, but hopefully soon we can hang up our wellington boots and sleep soundly when it is raining heavily’.

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