Views sought on new school in Burgess Hill

A consultation to build a new free school on the Northern Arc housing development is now open for people to take part


Released: 28 June, 2021

You now have the chance to have your say on plans for a new school to support a growing community across Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and Hassocks.

A consultation on the proposals opened this morning (Monday, 28 June 2021) and runs for four weeks. You can complete the consultation on our website.

West Sussex County Council is proposing the building of a free school over two sites on a new housing development north of Burgess Hill, known as the Northern Arc.

It would be an ‘all-through’ school for children aged 4-16, with provision for pre-school children and children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The proposed new school aims to meet the increase in demand for school places from this and other developments in the area.

The consultation is seeking views on the kind of school people would like to see including:
• initial size
• who should run it
• whether the school has a faith designation and if so, what kind
• should the school be single sex or co-educational
• the kind of special educational needs to be catered for
• demand for particular education specialisms such as sports, science, engineering and maths

The consultation is open to everyone and we would especially like to hear from families, children, young people and teachers living or working in the area or across West Sussex.

On the consultation page you will also find full details of the proposal, the background, maps, a timeline of developments, and options for accessing the consultation.
You can request a paper form through the post by phoning 0330 222 3046.

This is a preliminary consultation, the results of which will influence the specifications for the school and how the council invites expressions of interest in the running of the school. A further consultation on the design will follow in due course.

Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “Building homes is about building communities. This new school is designed to be at the heart of its community and play an integral part in helping children and young people to fulfil their potential. As we work with partners to develop housing within West Sussex, we must also ensure there is appropriate infrastructure in place to support families, including that children can be educated close to home. This is vital for wellbeing as much as for our efforts to reduce school journeys and thus our impact on the climate and environment. These are exciting plans in the early stages, and I encourage everyone to have their say and follow our progress.”

The Northern Arc will build 3,500 new homes in Burgess Hill and is being developed by Homes England, the Government’s housing accelerator, responsible for increasing the number of new homes that are built in England, including affordable homes. Together with West Sussex County Council, Homes England has agreed to build the new primary phase of the school and fund the majority of the secondary phase. A separate second primary school is to be built later in the project and is not the focus of this consultation.

Ken Glendinning, Project Director for Homes England, said: “We are committed to maintaining our relationships with the local community, providing new schools, parks and leisure facilities for the Northern Arc at the right time for the development.

“We’re working closely with West Sussex County Council and Mid Sussex District Council to make sure the community facilities Homes England is providing at the Northern Arc best serve the needs of all residents, creating a sustainable community for Burgess Hill.”

Judy Llewellyn-Burke, Deputy Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said: “The involvement of Homes England in delivering the Northern Arc will ensure that vital infrastructure improvements, including schools, are delivered in a timely fashion to support the new community.

“This all-through free school is a very important element of the Northern Arc project and I encourage everyone to get involved with this consultation and help to shape the future of education provision in Burgess Hill.”

Additional information

  • The consultation is open from 28 June to 26 July 2021 inclusive.
    As well as local residents, West Sussex County Council is also engaging with local schools and other key educational stakeholders to consult on the proposal.
  • A report on the decision to consult can be found here on our website.
  • Once the consultation closes, West Sussex County Council will review the feedback and issue the specification for the school. We will seek expressions of interest for a sponsor for the new school and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Education, who will take the final decision on who will provide and run the new school.
  • Free schools are not run by local authorities in the way community schools are. Applications to set up and run a new free school can be made to government by groups such as parents, charities, businesses, existing academy trusts or other independent schools, who are called ‘sponsors.’
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