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Parents in plea for funds to expand Heene First School in Worthing
Parents are calling on a council to fund their school’s expansion – with pupil numbers set to rocket.
The concerned mums and dads have also pleaded with planning officers to turn down proposals for new flats which would block the growth.
Heene First School in Norfolk Road, Worthing, needs to find space to accommodate extra classrooms when it becomes a primary school from September. Pupil numbers will increase from 360 to 420.
Currently the school plans to build on its existing playground, which according to parents will reduce it to “almost nothing”.
Parents claim building on the site of an old pub which backs on to the school would be the best way to handle the influx of students.
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However, developers have submitted a planning application to build a block of flats on the pub site. It is believed it will cost the school around £1 million to buy the land instead.
Parent Lisa Ottway, 32, of Elizabeth Road, Worthing, said the expansion was crucial. She urged the council to provide the funds from £20 million the Government recently issued to help restructure the town’s secondary school system.
She said: “The council says there is not enoughmoney to extend into anymore land. We know there is money being spent elsewhere on secondary schools in the town, so why should primary schools miss out?
“There is no use having a cramped, sub-standard primary school to get children ready for secondary schools that have had lots of investment.”
Alan and Fiona McKinney, both 34, of Browning Road, Worthing, echoed the concerns. Mr McKinney said: “We’ve been told as the planned development is residential, the council will receive a payment from the developer which makes the school expansion much less appealing to them.
“The school will be too small, especially as there will bemuch older children once it becomes a primary. The school can’t build upwards, only out.
“We are pretty disgusted. Surely education should come before the council receiving such payments?”
A West Sussex County Council spokeswoman confirmed two new classrooms were needed. She said: “There may be a need for temporary classrooms on site subject to any decisions that parents take following an interim preference testing exercise and the formal admission process this summer.
“The county council recognises that additional space is desirable and has entered discussions around various options. We would be happy to discuss with adjacent land owners whether there is an option to acquire some additional land to improve play space for the school.”
She added that there would also be an opportunity for some parents to choose other primary schools.
For more details on the parents' campaign, visit www.heeneparents.co.uk
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