'Housing growth could put college at bursting point'

PUBLISHED: 16:12 16 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:30 10 June 2010

SATURDAY, AUGUST 16: AS Devon County Council considers the need for an extra secondary school in Exmouth, one council member has said the current system isn't fair on pupils." Fears grow that any housing build could mean Exmouth Community College, already one of the largest

AS Devon County Council considers the need for an extra secondary school in Exmouth, one council member has said the current system "isn't fair on pupils."Fears grow that any housing build could mean Exmouth Community College, already one of the largest secondary schools in the country, may be unable to cope.A County Council report admitted ECC was "under pressure", but could absorb pupils from its area. The report, discussed last week by the County's executive board, added: "Any major house building in or around Exmouth would almost certainly trigger the need for an additional secondary school."Though board vice-chairman John Smith denied there was any "squeeze" on school space, colleague John Hart disagreed. The member for Bickleigh and Wembury welcomed a review of Exmouth schooling, saying the College's size had an impact on the ability to get to know pupils.Cllr Hart said: "People are beginning to recognise at last that ECC has reached the stage now where, frankly, we ought to and should, certainly if any development is to come in that area, consider two schools."That's no insult to what Exmouth is doing, it's simply that the school is getting to a size that I don't think is fair on the pupils."The DCC report on school numbers had received a frosty reception at the council's scrutiny committee. Committee member Cllr Saxon Spence said the report "wasn't satisfactory", and has asked for it to be re-written. The County Council have recently expressed concern over government plans for extra housing in the Exeter region, which could result in 25 per cent growth. The Regional Spatial Strategy plans were criticised by Cllr Humphrey Temperley, who called on the Government to support infrastructure improvements: "The changes proposed by the Secretary of State represent a major challenge to local authorities and other agencies concerned with the future development of Devon."The council will now reconsider their position in the light of RSS news.

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