Plans to upend school system in Ilminster and Crewkerne

Plans have been produced that will see the end of the middle school system in Ilmininster and Crewkerne. This morning Somerset County Council produced a document on the future of schools in the area. Ilminster and Crewkerne is the last bit of Somerset running a three tier school system. This means there are a series of “first school” around the area. Children then go to a Middle School. That is Maiden Beech in the Crewkerne area and Swanmead in the Ilminster area. Wadham School then completes the final part of the children’s eduction.

All that is now set to change. The new proposals from SCC’s education team will see Wadham become a normal secondary school. It will continue serving the Crewkerne and Ilminster area.

Swanmead and Greenfylde (the first school for Ilminster) would merge initially to form a primary school. The long term plan being to close both and build a new school on a new site in the town.

Three primary schools would form in the Crewkerne area. Ashlands and St Bartholomew’s Church of England First Schools and Maiden Beech Academy would all become primary schools.

Merriott First School and Haselbury Plucknett Church of England First School would become primary schools.

The current proposals envisage completing the changes by September 2022. However these new proposals will have to go to a public consultation before being approved. Given the presence of the pandemic that seems an extremely tight timetable.

The paper does not mention costs aside from the redevelopment of the two middle schools. This is estimated at Ā£500k-
700k per school. However it is inconceivable that there would not be substantial costs at Wadham. Equally though to a lesser extent, converting the first schools will also cost money. However the paper is silent on the total cost of the project.

The next step is for the plans to go before SCC’s Scrutiny Committee. They will then be consulted on to give you the chance to voice your opinion. However SCC have made it clear that any consultation will not involve offering an option to retain the current 3 tier system.

2 comments

  • “Ilminster and Crewkerne is the last bit of Somerset running a three tier school system.” Apart from Frome which has 30,000 residents with children in a three tier system, but it’s a long way from Taunton so SCC may not have remembered.

    • Fair point. But although fashionable to blame SCC for everything these days – actually, sadly, the error occurred at Leveller Towers, not County Hall.

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