Updated: 7 February, 2020 after Stedham Primary School was removed from the consultation process
Consultations on proposed changes to three small West Sussex schools open today (Monday 3 February 2020).
An initial consultation at the end of last year looked at options for five schools: if they should remain as they are, needed to federate with neighbouring or nearby schools, to merge with neighbours, be relocated or to close.
As a result of the feedback and the County Council’s own impact assessments, the following proposals are now being consulted on for three schools:
- 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
- Closure of Clapham and Patching C of E Primary School by September 2020, whilst supporting the school as it continues to discuss academisation proposals
- Closure of Rumboldswhyke C of E Infant School, effective September 2020.
Cabinet also agreed to support the progression of federation proposals for Compton and Up Marden. This does not require further consultation and the school is not being considered for closure.
West Sussex County Council has a strategy 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 financially viable in the future. The four schools were identified under these criteria.
Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “The County Council is committed to providing the best education for children in West Sussex. That means our schools must have the resources to be able to deliver a broad and high-quality curriculum to their pupils.
“None of these proposals will deliver financial savings to the council. But it’s important that all schools are financially robust and have the resources to deliver a good standard of education. The funding schools receive from central government is based on how many pupils they have, which puts some small schools under financial pressure.
“We do not underestimate the uncertainty the possibility of closure has on an entire school community and we will continue to support schools through this process. Consulting on closure is not a decision taken lightly, but where the long-term viability of a school is uncertain, we as the local education authority have a responsibility to act.
“The council is encouraged by the work many of our small schools are doing to discuss partnerships which can make schools more robust and improve provision for their pupils.
“I very much welcome the views of our residents on these proposals and encourage as many people as possible to take part in this consultation.”
Consultations are being held for each school and will run for six weeks until 16 March 2020. The easiest way to take part is online, paper copies will be available in libraries, the schools and on request.
Public events will be held for each school, giving parents/carers and staff the chance to ask questions. Click on the school to take you to the consultation page so you can give your views.
Clapham & Patching C of E Primary School – Wednesday 12 February 2020 (venue The Angmering School at 6.30pm)
Warninglid Primary School – Thursday, 27 February 2020 (venue at the school at 6.30pm)
Rumboldswhyke C of E Infant School – Tuesday 3 March 2020 (venue The Assembly Rooms, Chichester at 6pm)