Cabinet approves consultation for five schools

Consultation on changes to five small infant and primary schools was agreed by the County Council’s Cabinet today.

 

Released: 14 January 2020

West Sussex County Council’s role is to ensure education across the county is of a consistently high standard for all children and, at the same time, to make sure schools offer a broad curriculum, attract pupils from the local community and are of sufficient size to be educationally and financially viable in the future.

A public consultation from 7 October 2019 to 25 November 2019 asked people for their views on a range of options for five schools which had been identified for these reasons.

The consultation looked at whether these schools should remain as they were, needed to federate with neighbouring or nearby schools, to merge with neighbours, be relocated or to close.

A total of 1,045 responses were received to the consultation and 550 people attended public meetings held at each school.

As a result of that consultation and feedback, recommendations were made for each school and on Tuesday (January 14) Cabinet agreed to consult on:

Consult on:

  • Closure of Clapham and Patching C of E Primary School by September 2020 whilst continuing to discuss academisation proposals.
  • Closure of Rumboldswhyke C of E Infant School effective September 2020
  • Closure of Stedham Primary School by September 2020, whilst continuing to encourage and assist the school in its discussion on federation, which if agreed before the end of the consultation period (16 March 2020) will result in the consultation ceasing.
  • Relocation of Warninglid Primary School and the federation of the school by September 2021 (subject to developer’s progress). This school is not being considered for closure.

Support the progression of federation proposals for:

  • Compton and Up Marden C of E Primary School. This school is not being considered for closure and does not require a further consultation

Recommendations from the Children and Young People’s Services Select Committee to postpone the consultation were extensively debated. However, these were not taken forward because alternative options for the schools will continue to be pursued during the period of consultation and Cabinet members felt any delay could cause further uncertainty.

Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “I do not underestimate the effect discussions of closure of schools has on their communities, the staff who work at them, on parents and, most importantly, on children. However it is our duty to make sure the education children receive in our county is of a consistently high quality and meets the standards that our children deserve.

“We recognise the pressures schools are under and will continue to offer them the support and guidance to make the necessary changes to meet the needs of children in our county.

“I am heartened by the response and engagement of the schools that are proactively progressing opportunities for federation or academisation. These options will continue to be explored during the consultation process but it’s important we continue with the consultation to avoid further delay and uncertainty.

“The Cabinet does not take these decisions lightly and I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the next consultation.”

A consultation on the above options for four school will run on the County Council website from 3 February 2020 for six weeks.

A final decision on each of the four schools under consultation will be made in April 2020.

Parents and carers, applying for school places at any of the five schools, can contact our admissions team with any queries.

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