A girls school could open to boys.

West Sussex County Council is considering proposals to change the status of Millais School in Horsham from a single-sex school for girls to a co-educational school.

The council said Millais has not filled to its published admissions number of 300 for the last three years, which impacts on budgets and resources.

Proposals aim to tackle the issue of falling pupil numbers at the school. Additionally, it is proposed that opening Millais up to boys will partially address pressure for additional secondary school places in the Horsham area.

The proposed option is for Millais School to receive its first co-educational cohort of Year 7 admissions only from September 2026, subject to approval from the cabinet member for children and young people, learning and skills. Should this be agreed, then all subsequent Year 7 admissions would similarly be for boys and girls. Existing year groups of girls would continue to receive their education at the school until they leave at the age of 16.

Residents now have the opportunity to share their views on the proposals via an online consultation, which will run until June 12, 2024.

Councillor Jacquie Russell, cabinet member for children, young people and education said: “The proposals to make Millais school co-educational present an exciting opportunity to build on the current good work of the school and to further improve educational standards across the town.

“By offering boys as well as girls access to this high-quality education offer, we are taking a proactive approach towards addressing challenges around student numbers in the locality, helping ensure that children and young people fulfil their potential.

“The consultation is a chance for people to express their support for the proposals as well as voice concerns and offer constructive ideas on taking the plans forward. We invite all residents to participate in the consultation and help us shape this project as it moves forward.”