The Land Sale
The land we propose to sell is largely used for two pitches. However, there are adjacent spaces where these two pitches can be moved. The land is excess to requirements and, as such, incurs costs in maintenance and upkeep for no added value to the school, its students, or community. This therefore detracts from the revenue available to improve standards at the school.
How will the land sale benefit Devizes School?
Currently, the number of students enrolled at Devizes School is below its Pupil Allocated Number (PAN), which is the number of students a school can comfortably accommodate. However, it is expected that the provision of new housing on the land to be sold will help to bring more students to the school, providing healthier school enrollment.
With additional students, the school will be able to broaden the range of available subjects, including its vocational qualifications offering. This will give students more options and prevent the need to seek out-of-town provision for their A-Levels. In turn, this will reduce the associated cost for some students and continue to ensure a high-quality educational offering is made viable locally, potentially encouraging more local students to continue their education into sixth form.
Perhaps the biggest benefit from utilising income from this excess land is the direct impact it will have on the school learning environment, facilities for students, and the broader impact it will have on the surrounding community.
"The school is old, and looks and feels its age. The current estates condition survey shows a requirement across broad categories of circa £2.3m due within the next three years. The community deserves a completely updated school, fit for the 21st century, and it does not yet have one. Learning spaces are tired and configured in a way that is counter to a modern, dynamic curriculum.
The funds available from the land sale will enable focused investment in terms of school improvement to infrastructure, and the development of learning spaces and environments. School and community sports and performing arts facilities will be enhanced for the benefit of students and the wider Devizes community.
The school shares a campus with a sports centre, but parking facilities are woefully inadequate, resulting in underuse. By offering a small section of our land to extend car parking, we will not only be able to negotiate better rates and additional usage of the sports centre facilities for our students during school time, but we will also be able to widen the sports centre offering to the broader community."
Mr Julian Morgan (Principle of Devise)
Will the sale impact sports and leisure facilities?
The Football Association currently has a regional hub in the local Devizes area, as well as a thriving cricket and rugby scene.
However, it has very little in the way of facilities for other athletes, especially girls, in the area. Working with the town planner, we are already seeking ways in which we can broaden the sports and leisure offer across the town in order to bring about the following:
- Better physical health and wellbeing for both our students and the wider population.
- A reduction in unhealthy eating habits and obesity.
- Better mental health and wellbeing through engagement with sport, both during and after school hours.
- Better economic wellbeing for the town as residents spend their hard-earned wages locally, rather than out-of-town.
- Increased numbers of evening activities aimed at the 11- to 18-year-old age group.
Our proposals have also been run past Sports England, who have reviewed our approach to the layout of our playing fields and the overall impact of the changes for our students and local community. Following their assessment, Sports England are supportive of our plans for improvement.
Once approval has been granted by the DfE, the value and therefore the community impact will be maximised with one developer and a clear project plan developed and actioned quickly to deploy the funds within the school environment.
Residents elected as members of the council, and the wider community will be kept informed at every stage and will be consulted where necessary to ensure that we effectively inform and communicate with all stakeholders.