Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Primary school crisis in West Sussex
Primary schools will face a “massive crisis” over increased pupil numbers if drastic action isn't taken, councillors have been warned.
Local authority officers have estimated that 1,500 extra pupils will pour into Worthing and Durrington schools over the next four years – with at least six additional classes needed for the start of 2013 alone.
However, experts have warned that the number of extra pupils may end up being far higher than estimated.
West Sussex County Council 's Young People's Services Select Committee will meet on Thursday (October 4) to discuss the issue.
In a report to members, council officers state that there is “an urgent need” to provide more places and pleaded with councillors to back proposals for expansions.
The rise in numbers has been put down to an increased birth rate in the area along with high internal migration.
The figures are estimated by looking at how many children are on the books at local doctors.
However it is feared that parents are failing to register their youngsters which will lead to a massive underestimation.
Councillor Bob Smytherman, for Tarring, has campaigned for the matter to be taken up by the committee.
He said: “It is a massive crisis. It's at a stage where parents are getting their second or third choice schools.
“The rise in numbers were not anticipated by those making the decisions but they must act now.”
Officers have recommended that councillors back expansion plans for both Worthing's Thomas A'Becket and Downsbrook Middle Schools.
The authority is in the middle of a consultation period on the proposals which will end on October 9.
Peter Griffiths, Cabinet Member for Education and Schools, said: "Both schemes are being put forward to meet growing demand in the area, and the views of the local community, parents, and of course the schools, are important to us in deciding if these are appropriate proposals.”
However coun Smytherman said that more has to done.
He added: “They're just tinkering around with a few places here and a few there.
“They need to step back and look at this holistically.
“Worthing is playing catch up in terms of school structure. We are five years behind the rest of Sussex.
“The council need to bite the bullet and do away with the old school structure.
“It's the only way we will avert this crisis.”
The committee will meet on Thursday (October 4) at County Hall in Chichester.
Comments are closed on this article.