Misterton First School
Misterton First School
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Councillors at Somerset County Council met on 21 October 2020 to vote on the future school system for Ilminster and Crewkerne, which if agreed, would mean changes for 8 local schools including the closure of Misterton First School. The proposal was agreed and accordingly the plans will be sent out to public consultation for 4 weeks in November 2002, with proposed changes beginning in September 2022.
The school is in a designated rural area and the closure will have a significantly negative impact on the local community and be devastating for all of the children and families connected with the school, it is also completely unnecessary It is a thriving school and is graded as a ‘good’ school by OFSTED and offers children a good standard of education in a nurturing environment. Misterton First School is being denied the opportunity to convert to a primary school even though other schools in the local area are being allowed to make the conversion. There is a statutory presumption against the closure of rural schools and we are seeking scrutiny of Somerset County Council’s decision, subsequent public consultation and adherence to statutory guidance. To date, there has been no genuine engagement with the local community and only tokenistic actions from Somerset County Council.
What are we trying to achieve?
Statutory processes exist to help ensure that decisions reached by public bodies are reasonable, proportionate and in adherence to the law. When a local authority makes a proposal to close a school it then decides whether to accept that proposal; there are no grounds for parents or the local community to appeal the decision. The only avenue to scrutinise the local authority’s adherence to statutory processes is through judicial review. We want to prevent the closure of Misterton First School.
How much are we raising and why?
We need to raise £3,000 for initial legal advice before applying for permission to issue a Judicial Review, should we be advised that there are grounds to do so. This money will be used to obtain a specialist barrister’s advice on the lawfulness of the consultation and whether there are grounds to pursue a Judicial Review. This will also enable our lawyers to make a contribution to the consultation on the proposed closure of Misterton First School which ends at the end of November 2020. This could potentially encourage Somerset County Council to rethink its proposal.
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