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North Devon primary school to temporarily relocate while essential building work is completed

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A North Devon primary school will have to temporarily relocate to allow learning to continue while work is carried out to stabilise a bank to the rear of the school.

Swimbridge C of E Primary School has been monitoring the movement of a slope at the back of their school for a number of years, and following a recent assessment carried out by geo-technical engineers, school governors have been told that remedial work is now needed to stabilise the bank.

The school has since taken immediate steps to ensure that the building is safe for pupils and staff to continue using this current term, but further work at the school and on the bank will be needed. This work will begin during the summer holidays and is likely to continue until the October half-term holiday.

Plans have yet to be finalised, but agreements have been given in principle for Swimbridge staff and pupils to temporarily relocate to Chittlehampton C of E Primary School, from September until the October half-term.

School governors at Chittlehampton, just a few miles away, recently announced the reluctant closure of its school at the end of this academic year due to having so few pupils on the school roll.

Swimbridge C of E Primary School, Executive Headteacher, Angela Fleming, said:

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped us put interim measures in place to ensure the continued safety of our pupils and staff on site this term.

“Moving site temporarily will be a major undertaking but we are committed to managing this with as little disruption as possible and will continue to focus on providing high quality educational provision for all our children throughout.

“We appreciate the generosity and kindness extended to us by Chittlehampton in this time of need.”

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Exeter said:

“We support the Swimbridge C of E Primary school governors in their decision to temporarily move pupils to another site in order to carry out this remedial work as swiftly as possible whilst minimising disruption to learning. We are grateful for the generosity of the governors and staff at Chittlehampton C of E Primary and pleased that the two school communities are supporting each other at this time.”

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for education said:

“We are working hard to support the school with this situation to ensure the safety of our pupils and their continued education.”