Give Ilminster the QUALITY two-tiered LOCAL school system it deserves.

Give Ilminster the QUALITY two-tiered LOCAL school system it deserves.

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Holly Phillips started this petition to Somerset County Council

We the undersigned hereby affirmed, do firmly believe that it is in the best interests of Ilminster's students that Swanmead be allowed to join a Multi-Academy Trust.

Government guidance even encourages schools to seek academy status and extolls the virtues and advantages of being one, so we are resentful and feel betrayed that the Somerset County Council are doing their utmost to deny Swanmead, it's students and the people of Ilminster the benefits of becoming one.

Ilminster residents have many grave concerns regarding the Somerset County Council's proposed changes to our local education system, but Swanmead being allowed to become an academy and continuing to educate students until the age of 16, addresses these concerns.

We are still unclear as to what changes the SCC will make, but the SCC's proposed plans as reported by the press unfairly and disproportionally make Ilminster take the brunt of proposed changes in comparison to Crewkerne.

Benefits of Swanmead becoming an academy (and continuing to teach students till the age of 16)

  • Students will continue to receive quality education in a high performing school (Swanmead) until the age of 16.
  • Students will benefit from local education within their own community. One of the main concerns regarding Ilminster students attending Wadham is the number that have problems transitioning and settling in, so therefore many consider it vital that we do all we can to protect and safeguard our children's mental and social well-being by giving them the opportunity to complete their education within their local community in a supportive and stable environment.
  • Government guidance even encourages schools into becoming academies because of the benefits. Extracted from an independent review commissioned by the SCC themselves 'A Multi-Academy Trust has the potential to enable an increased breadth of curriculum offer, improved continuity of resources and career progression across its schools, something that individual schools, standalone academies and small federations cannot offer to the same degree'.
  • From the environmental and air pollution (and ill health resulting from said air pollution) perspective; the SCC's proposed changes will mean students from age 11 will have to commute to Crewkerne - the SCC are supposed to be committed to making Somerset carbon neutral - so this goes against their agenda.  Whereas if children continued their education in Ilminster until the age of 16 it would mean no commuting for 100s of children a day - this complies with their carbon neutral commitment.
  • Ilminster will then have a two-tiered school system as the SCC states is necessary.

The SCC’s imminent plans for Ilminster are temporary, but with no definite indication of timescale of long-term plans (when a new school (Church of England) will be built and both Swanmead and Greenfylde closed).  This is not a settled and stable environment for students to learn in – the mental well-being of Ilminster’s students is not being properly considered here.

It seems as though the SCC's main priority in this re-structure is to secure Wadham more students and thus more funding to help the school, which is ailing financially and which until quite recently, was struggling performance wise.  The priority should not be financial, their priority should be the children and ensuring that they receive the best quality education available and that their social and mental well-being is safeguarded.  The SCC should also take the environmentally responsible stance and when they can provide local educational facilities (as they can in Ilminster's case) do so, instilling the importance of a cleaner, greener future.

 

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