In December, Devizes School began a period of consultation on the proposed land sale that would fund the much-needed maintenance of our school building.
We are grateful to have received a large number of responses to the consultation. They have given us a diverse perspective and an invaluable insight into the thoughts and opinions of our school community.
Naturally, the consultation responses included a number of queries about the land sale and the benefits it would have for our school and the local area. As part of our commitment to ensuring a transparent process and keeping our school community well informed, we have compiled a list of responses to the most frequently asked questions that have arisen from the initial stages of the consultation.
Please note that the land sale is still in consultation and has not yet been agreed. However, these answers are written from the perspective that the land sale is taking place.
The Environment and Green Spaces
Won’t selling such a large green space have a negative impact on the environment?
Everyone at Devizes School is passionate about being environmentally friendly, and we are committed to ensuring we only contribute positively to the environment during this process.
Before the sale of the land goes ahead, we will be commissioning an environmental impact survey to determine any possible ecological effects of the project. This will ensure that the sale would not pose a threat to any local flora or fauna.
Will the land sale result in trees being cut down around the school field?
Due to access requirements, some trees will need to be felled. However, we are committed to replanting a large number of trees in order to replace those felled. In fact, it is our intention to use the replanted trees to section off the plot of land sold from the remaining field, creating a natural barrier for our school grounds.
Traffic in the Area
What measures will be taken to ensure that the sale of land does not affect local traffic?
As part of our comprehensive consultation process, we commissioned an assessment of access strategies to ascertain any possible impact the land sale would have on traffic. Receiving planning permission is also contingent on the developments having a minimal impact on traffic. Devizes School will work with the development company to ensure that the chosen access strategies are efficient and effective.
Could extra traffic resulting from the land sale compromise student safety?
At Devizes School, we already have stringent safety measures in place to ensure that our students are able to navigate traffic and crossings without danger. These measures have proven to be extremely successful and will remain in place to continue protecting our students.
Mental Health, Wellbeing, and Fitness
Will selling the land have a negative impact on students’ physical wellbeing and fitness?
No. We already have plans in place to provide students with all-weather sports facilities on the school field that will allow them to practise sport outdoors throughout the whole year. As a result, our students will continue to benefit from regular opportunities to remain physically fit and healthy and access to the facilities to do so.
Will Devizes School have enough space for its students to enjoy being outside?
Yes. As per the DfE area guidelines, the net site area of Devizes School, even after the proposed land sale, is still large enough to comfortably accommodate 105% of its full capacity.
Will selling part of the school field result in a loss of sports facilities for the school?
No. Although there will be a loss of land, there will not be a loss of facilities. The proposed land sale will result in a realignment of pitches on the remaining field. These new facilities will be dual-purpose, which ensures that our sports provision continues to help our students practise sport and develop their skills.
Will the remaining amount of land be sufficient for sporting events, sports days, and multiple sports fixtures?
We recognise it is vital that our school remains able to host sporting events and fixtures. To that end, we will be working closely with our PE department to ensure that all sporting events, such as school sports days, and sports fixtures are not hindered by the land sale. During the reconfiguration of our sports facilities, this will remain at the forefront of our minds.
Will the land sale compromise Devizes’ reputation as a provider of excellent physical education?
No. As stated above, we are taking measures to ensure that our sports provision is not affected by the land sale. As such, our school will continue to have the facilities and offering necessary to be recognised as a provider of excellent physical education.
Allocation of Funds
How will the money be spent?
The entire sum of money raised by the land sale will be spent on making further improvements at Devizes School. The funds will be used to enhance our facilities and renovate the ageing parts of the school building that are degrading. In doing so, we will make the school’s infrastructure fit for the 21st century and ensure it facilitates the continued success of our fantastic students.
Who is receiving the money from the sale of land: Devizes School or The White Horse Federation?
As mentioned above, Devizes School will receive the entire sum of money generated by the land sale. While this has always been the intention of our school and The White Horse Federation, we are also legally obliged to ensure that all funds raised are invested into the school and not used elsewhere.
Isn’t selling land only a short-term solution to funding issues?
Underfunding is an ongoing challenge faced by everyone involved in the UK education system. While we are assessing our options for long-term financial sustainability, we are faced with the prospect of our school building ageing rapidly, and a more immediate solution is necessary. The funds raised by the land sale will be invested in carrying out essential maintenance and enhancing our sports facilities. We do not propose that this method of fundraising is a long-term funding solution, and we remain committed to identifying financial strategies that are effective in the long term.
Won’t selling off a part of the field just result in more houses being built around the school?
While we recognise that the a development company is the proposed purchaser of the land, we will be working in close collaboration with them to ensure that any projects involving the land have minimal impact on the school community.
Impact on Students
Will the land sale and subsequent construction and development have a negative impact on students’ learning, safety, or privacy?
At Devizes School, we remain committed to ensuring that our students receive the best education in a truly safe environment. These factors are the two foremost motivations behind the land sale, and we are determined to keep them at the heart of our decision-making. That is why we will work closely with the purchaser of the land to ensure any construction work that takes place has a minimal impact on the safety, concentration, and learning of our students. We will also take measures to ensure that the end result of the development does not compromise the safety or privacy of our students.