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Devizes School: A Statement on Today's Protest

16 December 2019
Devizes School: A Statement on Today's Protest

At Devizes School, we believe the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest are crucial elements of a functional democracy. In today’s world, where discussion and debate quickly turns into vitriol and aggression, it is important for topics to be examined from both sides and opinions to be shared.

Recently, we began a period of consultation on our proposal to sell an area of our school’s land in order to fund the maintenance that our ageing school building needs to match the aspirations we have for our students. In the spirit of healthy debate and discussion, we widely shared consultation notices with the school community, local residents, and a number of organisations who would benefit from the land sale.

This period of consultation is still ongoing, and we are closely monitoring and reviewing every response we receive to our consultation notices.

We are aware of a student-led protest that took place earlier this morning on our school premises as those involved expressed their concern about the land sale. As a school, we aim to instil a passion for learning in our students, and this protest demonstrates just how much they care about their education and Devizes School.

While the considered course of action may be unpopular with some students, staff, and community members, the catalyst for the land sale is the need to repair our beloved school. The entire amount raised from the land sale will be used to pay for the much-needed maintenance of our ageing school building. The repairs will facilitate our school in delivering the modern, 21st century curriculum that our students deserve and empower them to fulfil their potential, achieve highly at school, and succeed in later life. This investment will also mean Devizes School can provide an outstanding education for the next generation, who don’t deserve a school in disrepair.

Devizes School will continue to listen to the views of our students, as well as those we have received from all members of the community, and we will continue to do so throughout the consultation period. Indeed, we are hosting a consultation meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the lower school dining hall at Devizes School and Sixth Form. All members of the school and local communities are invited to attend the meeting, which will be hosted by Phil Bevan, principal of Devizes School, and Dr Nicholas Capstick OBE, CEO of The White Horse Federation.

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