Legal win for County Council over Swanmead School
Regular readers of The Leveller will know that there has been a battle royal going on over education in Ilminster and Crewkerne. Here education currently works with a middle school system. This is one of the last parts of Somerset to do so. Since 2018, Somerset County Council has been working with headteachers and governors of schools in the area to review the education provision, which includes Swanmead Middle School, as the current three tier structure is not viable given the number of pupils in the area.
That process appeared to have been undermined when the South West Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) intervened. Last autumn she allowed Swanmead School to become an academy under the control of Bridgwater.
Victory in the courts means that SCC can restart the review into the future of the current schools system in Ilminster and Crewkerne.
SCC raised concerns about the decision with the RSC but she declined to alter her position. As a result SCC issued proceedings in the High Court to challenge the RSC’s decision through a Judicial Review. This led to a two-day trial before Mr Justice Fraser earlier this month. He ruled that the RSC’s decision for Swanmead to become an academy was unlawful and should be quashed, upholding the Council’s position.