Council leader to visit Ilfracombe to discuss new school plan

THE NEW LEADER of Devon County Council will be visiting North Devon next week to meet community leaders and discuss plans for a new secondary school for Ilfracombe. John Hart took over as leader of the county council in June after the Conservatives land

THE NEW LEADER of Devon County Council will be visiting North Devon next week to meet community leaders and discuss plans for a new secondary school for Ilfracombe.

John Hart took over as leader of the county council in June after the Conservatives' landslide victory in Devon.

He pledged to visit every part of the county and listen to what local people want from Devon County Council.

On September 8, he will be in Ilfracombe on the first of what will be regular visits to communities across Devon.


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His visit will also coincide with a special consultation day when education chiefs will listen to what local people want from their local school.

Devon County Council is asking the Government for �22 million as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme to provide a new secondary school at Ilfracombe.

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Work could start on the new school in three years if the bid is successful.

Devon was one of 30 local authorities invited to bid for the early release of funds by the Government because of its success in delivering other projects.

The county council will hear later in the year if it has been successful in its application. If it is, work will start on planning the new buildings almost immediately and building work could start in 2012.

The consultation on the new school will take place in the Ilfracombe Centre from 10am to 4pm next Tuesday (Sep 8).

John Hart will meet with local community leaders in the evening to discuss their aspirations and concerns about the future of Ilfracombe and North Devon and to discuss what they want to see from a new school.

He said:: "One of the key promises I made was to listen to people and this will be the first of a series of workshops around Devon for me to get a feel for what our local communities need.

"We may not always be able to satisfy these demands but it is important we have a clear idea of how people in our towns and villages think we can improve their lives.

"My administration is resolute in its determination to do everything it can to help Devon recover from the recession and create a thriving economy with good jobs in every corner of the county.

"But the bedrock for our future economic success in Devon is ensuring our children have the best possible education.

"It is good teachers, students with application and supportive families who make the biggest contribution. But I firmly believe that a brand new learning environment, purpose-built for 21st century learning, does much to raise aspirations and give students and the wider community a real sense of worth.

"When I was responsible for education in Devon from 2001 to 2005 we reorganised education in Exeter and built five new secondary schools. Since then exam results have soared in the city.

"I believe a new school for Ilfracombe will have the same effect. And it's not just about benefits for our children. A new school can be designed and built to cater for the whole community and that's why we particularly want to hear people's views on this.".

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