A SOMERSET mum says the potential closure of a first school could be “devastating” if plans to reorganise the education system in South Somerset go ahead.

Somerset County Council (SCC) intends to change a three-tier education system of first, middle and upper schools to a two-tier model for primary and secondary schools.

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This means Misterton First School would be closed – leaving the village without a school.

Taylor Larcombe, whose six-year-old daughter attends Misterton First got in touch with lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, as she is concerned closing the school will have a “negative impact” on the community.

“The closure of Misterton First School will be devastating for all of the children and families connected with the school,” she said.

“It’s also completely unnecessary. It’s a thriving school, is graded as a ‘good’ school by Ofsted and offers children a good standard of education in a nurturing environment.

“Misterton First School is being denied the opportunity to convert to a primary school even though other schools in the area are being allowed to make the conversion.

“There is a statutory presumption against the closure of rural schools and we are seeking scrutiny of SCC’s decision, subsequent public consultation and adherence to statutory guidance.

“To date, we feel that there has been no genuine engagement with the community and only tokenistic actions from SCC.”

Under the proposals Ilminster's Swanmead Community School and Greenfylde First School would be merged into a new split-site primary school.

Changes would also be made to Ashlands, Haselbury Plucknett, Maiden Beech, Merriott, St Bartholomew's and Wadham schools.

A four-week consultation regarding the plans is currently taking place.

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SCC said the decision to reorganise schools was made because of a reduction in the number of pupils and they have not made the decision “lightly”.

A spokesperson for SCC said: “We are in complete agreement that the future of children’s education is the most important consideration here.

“We appreciate the strength of feeling around this very emotive subject, especially from parents at Misterton First School.

“Consulting around the reorganisation schools structures is not a decision that we take lightly. We have been looking at this for over ten years and unfortunately, doing nothing is not an option.

“Depending on the outcome of this listening exercise, it would be followed by publication of notices and a further four-week period of consultation, when members of the public can again engage and respond.

“When both four-week periods of consultation have finished, representations will be considered and recommendations made that will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet who will make a final decision on a way forward.”

Irwin Mitchell has been asked to investigate whether the consequences of the decision “have been properly considered”.

Rachael Smurthwaite, the specialist public law and human rights team at Irwin Mitchell supporting Taylor, said: “The reorganisation of schools is always an emotive subject which causes great deal of concern among affected communities.

“Taylor has a number of concerns about how the council has come to its decision and has asked us to investigate. We now will be analysing the decision-making process to determine whether all of the consequences of this move have been properly considered.

“It’s absolutely vital that decisions regarding the future of pupils are made lawfully and with the best interests of children at heart.”

If you would like to comment on the proposals visit somerset.gov.uk/schoolsconsultation or write to Somerset County Council, PP-B3E3, B3 East, County Hall, The Crescent, Taunton TA1 4DY.

To find out more visit somerset.gov.uk/crewkerne-and-ilminster-strategic-school-review.

Ms Larcombe has also set up a crowdfunding page to help her to investigate the decision-making process. To donate visit www.crowdjustice.com/case/misterton-first-school/