Informal Consultation re New School in South West Barnstaple

by aldc on 13 August, 2015

As a sign that things could finally be moving forward in the long running debate concerning the need for a new primary school for South West Barnstaple covering Fremington Parish, the Church of England has launched an informal consultation as to whether the school should be one of its own. With all the new housing developments taking place in the area, the existing schools in Sticklepath and Fremington will not be able to cope with the increase in numbers. This has long been acknowledged – but the question has been Where would the school be built? and now also Whether it should be a Church of England Voluntary Aided School ?

Fremington Parish Council at its meeting on 10 August decided to send a message supporting the building of a Church of England School in Larkbear, which appears to be it most likely location – the sights in Roundswell and Tews Lane having been deemed unsuitable. The school is not set to open until 2017 – 18.

If you want to make you own contribution to the survey you have until 5pm on 21 August by going to

I went to St James’s Church of England Primary School in my home village of Bierton in Buckinghamshire from the age of 5 to 12. In general it was a very good education – I can’t complain and in any case nowadays schools have to adhere to a certain degree to a national curriculum so I think it would be wrong to compare today’s Church schools with those of the 1970s, but I would want to be assured that respect and understanding of all religions as well as the equality and diversity of all people regardless of sex, race, age and sexuality, would be part of the universal values taught at the school alongside Christian beliefs.  My concern is that with the C of E ‘s present opposition to same sex marriage that this would send a confusing message to the children of those marriages and possibly lead to their bullying and feeling discriminated against.  I would want firm reassurances that the School would make all provisions to ensure that this did not take place.

The Church of England is a major provider of schools. Nationally almost one in five primary children are educated in a C of E primary school. There are 130 C of E schools in Devon – over 80% are rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted .

The school will serve our community so its worth giving your feedback to the consultation.If the proposal proceeds there will be a Formal Consultation along with a Public Notice as required by legislation. The decision about whether the new school will be a a Church of England VA school will ultimately be made by Devon County Council.

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