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23 July 2010, 07:36
A £36million revamp of Purbecks schools IS going to happen.
Councillors have given their final approval to the plans, which will see middle schools scrapped, 13 first schools expanded into primaries and the upper school made a secondary.
It's all in a bid to cut the 1250 surplus places in the area.
County council cabinet member for children’s services Toni Coombs, says the changes will be brought in for September 2012:
"We need to make sure that each of the first schools have the capacity to hold the two extra year groups in those buildings and that the upper schools also have the capacity, as well as meeting the challenges of the modern curriculem.
"It has been a long process. We have worked with schools and local communities, listened to their concerns and altered our proposals as a result. We want to create a viable education system for children that will last for many years to come."
"I fully understand that people don’t like change, but I believe this is the right thing to do for the children and young people of Purbeck. If we do nothing, some schools will be forced to close - and we cannot let that happen. I know the transition period will be difficult, but we will support everyone throughout the process."
And despite many local authorities facing cuts in grants and spending, she say's they have already earmarked where the money will come from:
"That money will be there - it's one of the highest priorities of this council. It's coming from our own Modernising Schools Programme, plus our government grant and the two combined over a period of two years will give us the £36 million."
Dorset County Council’s decision to change the schools system will now be subject to a four week appeal process. If an appeal is made, the decision may go before a schools adjudicator.