PROPOSALS to restructure the schools system in Ilminster and Crewkerne have been approved.

Today (March 17), Somerset County Council's Cabinet approved the plans to change the three-tier school system to a two-tier system.

Under the new plans, Wadham School will become a secondary school; Maiden Beech, Ashlands, St Bartholomew’s, Merriott and Haselbury Plucknett will become primary schools; Swanmead and Greenfylde will amalgamate and become a primary school and Misterton school is set to close.

Councillor Faye Purbick, cabinet member for education and transformation, said today was a "significant milestone" for the future of education in the towns.

"I think it’s fair to say that it has been a long and sometimes difficult journey to reach this point after ten years of reviewing, engaging and consulting on a number of proposals," she said.

"Now, after today’s final decision, we can move forward to ensure a smooth transition to a two-tier system from September 2022.

"The changes will bring improvements to the area. The Council has committed over £5m to improve the quality of school buildings, alongside other remodelling work.

"All Ilminster pupils will be able to look forward to getting access to after school activities due to the commitment to add a later bus as part of the change.

"We will work with schools to look at innovative models of primary education and to tackle the shortage of wraparound care for older children."

Parents and headteachers were not happy about the plans and said they will have a “detrimental impact” on all the schools in the system.

READ MORE: Last chance for public to have their say on Crewkerne and Ilminster schools restructure

“I’d like to encourage everyone involved to work together to make these changes happen as smoothly as possible for the children, their families, carers and school staff," Cllr Purbick added.

"This will help ensure that every child continues to receive the excellent education that they absolutely deserve

“Lastly, I want to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to the consultation exercises over the last five years.

"The engagement and passion that you have shown has very much shaped the proposals approved by Cabinet today.”

Today’s Cabinet decision was the final step in the latest consultation process that ran between November 2020 and February 2021.

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