Released: 22 April, 2020
Following extensive discussion during a virtual meeting on Wednesday, 22 April, Cabinet members agreed to support officer recommendations to:
• Issue prescribed alteration notices for the relocation of Warninglid Primary School, Warninglid, Haywards Heath to a new site in Pease Pottage Crawley by September 2021 (subject to developers completing in June 2021) and implement the proposals submitted by Warninglid Primary School and at least one other partner to federate.
• Continue to work with Governors of Stedham Primary School and Harting C of E Primary School to progress the Federation Action Plan towards a hard federation by January 2021.
• Continue to work with Governors to progress proposals for the federation of Compton and Up Marden C of E Primary School, Compton with an appropriate partner.
• Issue a closure notice for Rumboldswhyke C of E Infant School, Chichester, but maintaining the building open for the Autumn half term to allow any children without suitable school places to be supported to transition to a new school should schools not return to normal opening during the summer due to the current Covid-19 situation.
• Issue a closure notice for Clapham and Patching C of E Primary School, Clapham, Worthing, but maintaining the building open for the Autumn half term to allow any children without suitable school places to be supported to transition to a new school should schools not return to normal opening during the summer due to the current Covid-19 situation.
The five schools were identified as at risk under criteria set out in the council’s Schools Effectiveness Strategy 2018-2022. It states that primary schools should be of a sufficient size to be viable in the future, offer a high quality and broad curriculum, attract pupils from the local community and provide strong outcomes for children.
Cabinet members discussed a detailed officer report with recommendations and considered feedback from public consultations and the Children & Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee.
Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “Achieving the best educational outcomes for all children in West Sussex has been at the heart of this process. It has involved full and thorough consultation and scrutiny with options for each school explored and carefully considered.
“My Cabinet colleagues and I fully appreciate that the closure of any school is an emotive and difficult decision for these school communities but we must also consider the implications of having a significant number of surplus places in neighbouring schools. We have examined all the information available in detail at every step of the way to satisfy ourselves that all alternative options have been examined.
“We have agreed to keep the Rumboldswhyke and Clapham and Patching school buildings open into the Autumn term if there are children who have been unable to transition to alternative schools because of Covid-19. This is part of our commitment to work with parents and carers so the transition of all children at these schools, particularly those with additional needs, will be as smooth as possible. “
“I’m pleased that opportunities for three of the schools to federate or relocate have been progressed due to much hard work. These positive changes will benefit those schools’ communities into the future.”
The closure notices for Rumboldswhyke and Clapham and Patching from August 31 are due to be issued following a seven day-call in period.
The Cabinet Meeting was audiocast and people will be able to listen back in full later in the week on the council’s website.