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Former education committee member voiced concerns over master plan

(March 18, 2016)

THE master plan submitted by developers for the Western Urban Expansion has implications for the whole of Warminster - particularly in the area of secondary education.

Their proposals suggest the creation of a single year annex to Kingdown, housed in the west of the town, catering for the whole 'cohort' of year 7s (that's first years to most people).

After their first year in secondary education the cohort would transfer to the main Kingdown site.

Such a proposal is unacceptable and would potentially place Warminster children at a disadvantage.

While there is no doubt that under the current head Kingdown has made significant strides forward there is still the belief that it is too large and that the town would be better served by having two schools. This option would provide parents and children with a choice - something currently lacking.

Steve Dancey, who served for four years on Wiltshire education committee in the days before local management of schools was introduced, voiced his concerns when town councillors examined the developers' master plan on Monday.

He said: "I recalled the days when Kingdown was under construction in the early 1960s and children - and staff - had to cope with the challenges of a split site.

"It obviously isn't ideal and isn't something we should accept for the long term.

"Far better to have a new school in the west of the town.

"Whether we will get anywhere is up in the air. The government seems hellbent on removing schools from local control and into the arms of quasi-autonomous trusts which are accountable to nobody other than the oligarchs who control them.

"All very worrying."  

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