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Changes to Worthing schooling system step closer as £30m grant secured
Multi-million pound changes to a town’s schooling system are one step closer.
West Sussex County Council has secured around £30 million to restructure schools in Worthing following an influx of new families in the town.
The cash, made of up a £20 million government grant and £10 million from the local authority, will help fund changes to the age children transfer to secondary school in the town.Around £13 million of the budget will also be used to build a new 900-pupil secondary school on surplus land currently owned by Northbrook College in Broadwater.
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More than three quarters (76.6%) of people who responded to a council consultation said they supported changes to children’s age of transfer, meaning pupils would start secondary school aged 11 instead of 12.
More than 73% of people agreed with the idea of establishing ‘all-through’ primary schools for children aged four to 11 – instead of the current structure of first and middle schools.
The public were also asked to comment on changes to individual schools, following which amendments have been made to the age range and size of Elm Grove First School, Goring CofE First, Thomas A’Becket First and Thomas A’Becket Middle.
Council bosses say staff and parents of Elm Grove First “reacted strongly” to proposals that the school would become a three-form entry infant school, with children transferring to Thomas A Becket Junior School at the end of year two.
Instead it will now become a one-entry primary school while Goring First School will become a two-form entry primary school.
The changes will require Thomas A’Becket First School to become a six-form entry infant school wth Thomas A’Becket Middle School to be fed by the first school as a six form entry junior school.
Orchards Middle School will become a four-form entry junior school which will complement Field Place First School, a four-form entry infant school, on the same site.
Colin James, head of capital infrastructure at the county council, said: “I think there has been real value to the consultation and it has showed us how some things can be done better.
“The revised proposals look at how we can reduce the traffic flow across South West Worthing at school drop off and pick up times.
“Parents were concerned about the practicality of the initial proposals for that area, in particular the traffic at the West Worthing level crossing.”
The changes will be rolled out from September 15 providing no further objections are received during a further six-week consultation.
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