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13 June 2018

Outdoor education sites to stay open until the end of the year

Braeside and Oxenwood will stay open until the end of the year while market testing is carried out on options for the future of the outdoor education sites.

At a cabinet meeting this week members agreed the centres would stay open until 31 December 2018 while proposals for the future use of the buildings are reviewed.

A decision to dispose of the two sites was made in March after a review showed Wiltshire Council could no longer afford to keep the two outdoor education centres open.

This is due to the high costs required for repairs while vital funds are needed for frontline services, including protecting vulnerable children and providing sufficient school places while ensuring high standards in schools.

Since then there has been a number of expressions of interest to continue outdoor education on the site and these are now being reviewed with a decision due at the end of the year.

The process will need cabinet approval to dispose of the sites and this will be carried out in line with ensuring both financial and social impacts are identified and best efforts are made.

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children's services Laura Mayes said: "The centres will remain open for business until the end of the year while we carefully scrutinise these expressions of interest to see if they are viable for the longer term.

"I fully support the benefits of outdoor education however we are not the right body to run these centres. As a council we need to focus our priorities on funding for support for our vulnerable children and investing in our education priorities. The decision to dispose of Braeside and Oxenwood was not taken lightly and I know best efforts will be made as the market testing is carried out on the future possibilities for the sites."

Last updated: 13 June 2018 | Last reviewed: 13 June 2018

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