Worthing school would increase capacity as part of a town-wide reorganisation

The Argus: Worthing school would increase capacity as part of a town-wide reorganisation Worthing school would increase capacity as part of a town-wide reorganisation

Parents were told of plans to increase a school by 420 places as part of a multi-million-pound town-wide reorganisation.

St Andrew’s CE High School for Boys in Worthing will increase from a capacity of 780 to 1,200 under the proposals.

The plans would also see a change in the age transfer to secondary schools in the town.

West Sussex County Council has £20 million Government funding plus £10 million of its own money for the town-wide project.

In addition, a brand new £13 million secondary school in Broadwater will be built with hundreds of extra school places to cope with an increasing population.

At a public meeting held at the school on Wednesday night, St Andrew’s headteacher said the plans were an “exciting challenge” with “lots of wins”.

However, some parents expressed concerns at such a rapid expansion of a relatively small school.

Worthing has a system of first schools and middle schools, with pupils not going to secondary school until Year 8.

Changes would bring the town in line with the rest of the county, with pupils joining secondary school at Year 7.

Secondary schools will need to find an extra 650 places – plus the 900 capacity new academy school at Broadwater.
 

First and middle schools will lose a total of 400 places with some increasing, some decreasing and some staying the same.

Headteacher Steve Mercer said: “It’s an exciting and challenging time for us all.

“There is some concern among parents that if the school grows large very quickly that it might lose some of its attributes with the increased numbers.

“I understand these concerns but there are lots of wins in it for
us if we tackle it in the right way.”

Peter Evans, cabinet member for children, has described the plans as a “golden opportunity” for the children of Worthing.

But mother-of-three Kellie Walden said: “I’m all for the concept. It’s the solution I’m concerned about.

"It’s billed as consultation but it seems like a done deal.”

A presentation was made at the school by West Sussex County Council principal manager of capital planning projects Peter Proudley.

The plans are out for informal consultation, with a cabinet member decision and scrutiny period ending in January, statutory proposals in February/March and a final decision in April.

The changes would come into force in September 2015.

 

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