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A COUNCIL has renewed its support for a new academy despite concerns over the school’s “challenging” budget and location.

West Sussex County Council has said a new secondary academy in Worthing in September next year is “achievable” within its allocated £12.4 million budget and at its identified site of land in Broadwater, currently owned by Northbrook College.

The council responded to concerns raised by Sue Marooney, headteacher of Durrington High School, who suggested an alternative site at Manor Sports Ground would create a bigger school site – a claim the council denies.

The Department for Education has said the site should not be changed because grant funding of £12.4 million must be spent by September 2015.

Jeremy Hunt, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for education and skills, said: “We do not believe that the budget for the new school is insufficient. The figure of £12.4 million is challenging but was made clear to the sponsor from the outset.

“The Worthing community has been looking for a change in the age at which children transfer to secondary school for some years. To delay this project would mean losing grant funding of £12.4 million.”

A meeting is due to take place between the county council and Durrington Multi-Academy Trust, which was selected by the Department for Education to sponsor the new academy, to clarify its position.