Please find a joint statement from the school and PC about the school field here. 

St Andrew’s Primary School, School Field and Access 

The Parish Council thought it would be helpful to explain where dialogue between the school and the community on this issue has reached.


Over 40 years ago, when the school was being designed and built, a parcel of land which was used for recreation was requisitioned by Devon County Council (DCC) to create the bus turning circle. An agreement was reached that the field adjoining the school, owned by DCC, would be made available to the village to compensate for the loss of this parcel of land. This was recorded in the Parish Council minutes at the time (1975) and the school field has, until recently, been ‘open’ together with a route through the school grounds to allow pedestrian access from Cuxton Meadow to the play park / bus stop. The agreement stated that access was conditional on the the ‘Headmaster’s discretion’.

In 2018 an OFSTED inspection recommended that the school should introduce security measures to prohibit unwelcome access to the school during school hours and fences were erected to comply with this recommendation. The school gates were ‘locked’ during school hours, but unlocked when the school was unoccupied, allowing access to the field and access through the school grounds.

In 2021, Covid-19 restrictions (lockdown) required the school to be closed and the gates were locked. On the easing of lockdown, the school took the decision to continue to lock the gates ‘out of hours’ resulting in the field and the access being unavailable to the village. This situation pertains to this day.

The school Governors have taken the view, and taken advice from the Local Education Authority and Diocese, that the school grounds should not be used outside school hours due to the liability that would fall to the school / Governors should there be an accident while they were absent.

Where we are now

A number of villager residents have approached the Parish Council asking if we can persuade the school to open the ground out of school hours; in other words, to revert to the arrangements that have been in place for the last 40 years.

The Parish Council have met with the Head / Chair of Governors and while the school’s position remains as above, both sides have committed to work to see if a compromise solution can be reached. The school have suggested that some form of ‘managed access’ may be a potential solution provided it excludes the school from the liability of accidents / damage.

Currently there are three actions being considered by the Parish Council:

  • to agree to lease the field from the school ‘out of hours’ and use the Parish Council’s Public Liability Insurance to cover any potential risk.
  • to apply for a Section 14 order  (which can be granted by DCC) to ‘re-open’ the path through the school. This action can be taken where it can be shown that a public path has been in continuous use for at least 20 years (as the path through the school has). If granted, the school would be required by law to make the path accessible.
  • to request that DCC (who own the field) require the school to make the field (and access) available to the village outside normal school hours.

The Parish Council will review the actions available to it at their next meeting and then take whatever action is agreed.