Education chiefs have played down – but not dismissed – talk of a Newton Abbot school moving to a new campus on the other side of town. The message comes after playground gossip suggested that the 92-year-old Knowles Hill School could relocate to Decoy within five years. Headteacher Dr Colin Pope, who has led the 1,100-pupil school since 1991 and was at the helm when it became the south west's first specialist technology school in 1995 – has said change is needed. Due to retire in September, Dr Pope told the Advertiser that despite what he described as a 'sentimental attachment' to the Old Exeter Road site, which straddles a busy main road, it was in need of substantial investment if students' needs were to be met. 'The time has come,' he said. 'We are a joint-site school and basically there are two options. One of those would be to redevelop on a single site and relocate elsewhere within the town.' He confirmed that a £60,000 'major premises review' had been conducted by Devon County Council, something which, he said, was 'a precursor to redevelopment'. Dr Pope said that although formal consultation with parents had yet to take place, no attempt had been made to hide the survey. If a new site was the preferred outcome then Decoy would be ideal, as that was where many students lived. 'The anomaly for Knowles Hill is that we are not within our own catchment area,' he said. 'There are powerful arguments in favour of re-establishing Knowles Hill in the heart of our community and it would mean that nearly every student would be within walking distance.' A spokesman for the county council confirmed that a survey had taken place in order to determine whether it would be better to move or rebuild, but said there was no money for a new school at the moment. He added: 'The government has pledged to rebuild or refurbish all secondary schools, but we do not have a definitive date for Devon to be included in the programme.' The chairman of the school governors, Don Paterson, denied any imminent move and said that no alternative sites had been identified or even considered. 'It is much too early to have a definite view,' he said.