Students back Rolle purchase

We were present on Friday at the Devon County Council meeting concerning the decision over the possible acquisition of the Rolle College site for the interests of sixth form education at Exmouth Community College. Being the only members of sixth form pre

We were present on Friday at the Devon County Council meeting concerning the decision over the possible acquisition of the Rolle College site for the interests of sixth form education at Exmouth Community College.

Being the only members of sixth form present at the meeting on Friday, we acted to represent the whole school's interests. Unfortunately, we were not able to air our views.

The result was disappointing, but we still feel there is a way of turning this terrible decision around. Our view is that we must express the opinion of students, especially from Year 11 going up into sixth form, about where they would prefer to study, instead of it being taken as a given by the county council.

DCC feels students are moving to Exeter because they prefer the location, rather than other factors that could be resolved by this purchase. The �288 some of our friends have had to splash out per year on train fares for Exeter College is ridiculous.

We want to refute the claims by the chairman on Friday that students want to travel to different colleges, such as Exeter, because of the wealth of courses. We think this is entirely ill-founded.

He also provided us with some untrue statistics and inaccurate opinions based upon no real evidence. Also, surely students see university as the time when they can travel? We would like to discuss the words of Mr Hart [DCC?leader] further.

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After discussing this with many students at our school, the two main reasons they decide to pursue further education away from Exmouth Community College is:

1) A Levels and further education in general are becoming more sought after by employers, and therefore Exmouth Community College's Telfer Centre is becoming more and more crowded and unworkable. The space is limited, especially as class sizes have doubled in the past two years. At lunchtimes, the Post 16 common room can no longer take the number of students, and we have worked with the council and the governors to find more space within the school for study, but we have not been successful since there simply is not the space.

2) Resources are low, and there is not the space to accommodate the books and equipment needed for a broader range of subjects now available at sixth form. A move to the Rolle College would certainly provide this.

These points were ignored and dismissed by Mr Hart on Friday, suggesting his decision has already been made for short-sighted economic gain in residential housing for the elderly, who will pay a great deal for the views, of course.

Rolle College is in the perfect location, and that is why Exmouth needs to stand against this decision, and protest for more consideration on the issue.

Surely �3 million is a small price to pay, as the long-term implications are huge. Families will no longer want to move to Exmouth Community College, simply because they know the sixth form education is not adequate, even though from Year 7 to Year 11 it remains brilliantly resourced and fairly spaced.

We think the only way to get around this decision is for the students to voice their overwhelming support, as well.

Some of the points made by the Conservative representatives in the meeting on Friday were truly ludicrous, and a lot of their decisions seemed influenced by higher authority (the chairman). Perhaps they were whipped? Controversial, I know.

We need to make sure the public know about the lack of space in sixth form, and the majority of Year 11 students who want to stay.

Another point worth considering is the over-sized Exeter College in-take. It seems unsustainable that Exmouth students travel to Exeter to gain a quality future, when it should be provided in what is the second biggest town in Devon.

The Conservatives are paying a severe disservice to the many families in Exmouth.

We would like to ask, when it is perfectly obvious that Post 16 education is becoming a government priority (ie raising the school leaving age to 18, unless that was to spin employment figures, who knows...), why the county council does not understand why there is need for more room.

The Telfer Centre at Exmouth Community College was built for a minority of students, because, only 10 years ago, a minority of students went into further education. Now, classrooms are packed, and there is no space to expand.

Exmouth is a successful school, so deserves to be expanded, surely... we have had a great education here, but that has been somewhat limited in Post 16.

We are very committed to this cause, and will be working together with Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors in due course. Furthermore, we were hoping to take up to 40 students for Tuesday's Cabinet meeting at County Hall to ask questions and express our support to the cause.

Paul Millar and Tim Hughes,

Joint Chairs of

the Student Council at

Exmouth Community College.