Somerset County Council agreed to change the age range of Dulverton Middle and Community School on 18 March 2016. The decision and supporting papers can be found here http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/council/portfolio%2017/2016%20decisions/Change%20of%20age%20range%20for%20Dulverton%20Middle%20and%20Community%20School.pdf
Changes to schools have to be undertaken in accordance with government legislation – The Prescribed Alterations to Maintained Schools (England) Regulations 2013. These regulations allow Local Authorities and School Governors to make a range of changes, all of which require there to be consultation with those affected by a change, or who may have an interest in the change. Significant changes that governing bodies are unable to make must be taken by the Local Authority (LA) or a Diocesan Board, and require the publication of a Notice about the change and a four week consultation period.
In the autumn of 2015 the governing body and Somerset County Council consulted with parents, staff and interested parties. Parents had the opportunity to discuss the impact of the changes with governors and a representative from the LA, which was followed by the publication of the proposals. There were 13 responses to the published information, 7 in favour of the changes, 2 against, 1 void, and 3 which were comments.
Based on this outcome the governing body determined in December 2015 to change the age range of All Saints Church of England VC First School to become an Infants school in September, subject to the LA determining to change Dulverton Middle School to a Junior School in 2016.
In January 2016 the LA agreed to publish a statutory notice to change the age range for Dulverton Middle School and for it to become a Junior School from September 2016. From 29 January to 26 February there was a four week consultation period for people to make comments for or against the proposed change in age range. The LA received 146 responses, although one was deemed void, making 145 valid responses. 117 responses were for the proposed change and 28 against the change.
The LA's School Organisation Advisory Panel met on 2 March to consider the responses received and whether the proposal should be supported. They determined to recommend that the Council proceed with the change.
Council officers and councillors considered a report about the proposed change with a recommendation to implement the change. The final paper known as a 'Key Decision Report' will be adjusted with any responses from these people, and will then be considered by the Leader of the Council on 18 March, who will either support the proposed change or reject it if he considers there has been any maladministration or the proposal is not in the best interest of pupils and the school.
The documents that have been produced in support of these changes can be found on the supporting information page.