‘Sad day for Tipton’ but school needs to move

The clean-up operation at Tipton St. John Primary School gets underway with the help of Sidmouth fir

The clean-up operation at Tipton St. John Primary School gets underway with the help of Sidmouth firefighters. Ref sho Tipton Clean-up 03. Picture: submitted - Credit: Archant

Town councillors have backed plans to move Tipton St John Primary School to Ottery, describing the relocation as the ‘best course of action’ for pupils.

Youngsters helped Sidmouth firefighters hosing down the playground at Tipton primary school. Ref sho

Youngsters helped Sidmouth firefighters hosing down the playground at Tipton primary school. Ref sho 0603-01-16SH. Photo Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

Executive headteacher Colin Butler updated this week updated members on proposals to build a new school on the west side of the town, which could cost a ‘ballpark’ figure of £5million.

Following a consultation with parents and residents, the school has presented the results to Devon County Council (DCC).

Mr Butler said: “The governors have worked for over 30 years on this and it was only in May this year when this solution came up. We had been working to move the school within Tipton. We never considered moving it out of Tipton, but the funding is not there - and that comes back to the Government.

“In very very simple terms, it would be about a £5million project. DCC and the Dioceses roughly have £4million, so we need a last £1million pounds to make the project happen.”


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Mr Butler has met with Education Secretary Justine Greening over funding. He has also held talks with Sir James Bevan, chief executive of Environment Agency, and MP Sir Hugo Swire about the flood risk to the school’s lower site.

He added: “They just reiterated the issues of the site, they said yes, there is a threat to life and the risk of flooding and yes, they wouldn’t consent to any building on the lower side because of the flood risk.”

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Councillor Geoff Pratt said: “From what I have seen of the school, I think the decision to move the primary school is the right one. We mustn’t be ruled by our hearts we must be ruled by our heads. I think that it’s the best course of action open to the parents and it is what’s best for the children at the end of the day.”

Cllr Paul Carter, a former pupil at the primary school, said the visit from Sir Hugo and Sir James was almost a ‘rubber-stamp’ for the move to Ottery. He added: “I don’t think you will appreciate what we’ve got until it’s gone and I think it will be a very sad day for the village - that’s where my heart is.

“It’s almost like the closure of the school.

“Unfortunately, I still see it as the end and the closure of Tipton. It will be moved and that’s the proposed plan.”

He backed Mr Butler’s suggestions for roadworks at the end of Metcombe road to channel water away from the school in the short-term.

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