Following pressure from West Sussex Lib Dem Education spokesmen and Tarring County Councillor Bob Smytherman West Sussex County Council has now asked the Department of Education to support plans for a new secondary school for Worthing from a new funding stream to support ‘Targeted Basic Needs.’
The school is regarded as the ‘essential piece of infrastructure’ that would allow the County Council to consult on changing the age of transfer in the Worthing area which is long over due with Worthing being the only area in West Sussex left behind.
The review of education is something Liberal Democrats in Worthing having been calling for over a number of years and follows consultations with local primary and secondary headteachers, and school governors.
Peter Griffiths, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Schools, announced today that he has written to Government Schools Minister John Nash asking him to support funding for the secondary school.
His letter explains that West Sussex has had a long-standing policy based on evidence of pupil achievement of reducing the number of times children need to transfer between schools. It has already successfully changed the age of transfer in all but two areas of the county.
Peter has told the Minister that West Sussex was never included in the former Building Schools for the Future scheme but now hopes to take advantage of the new funding stream.
His letter says: “A collaboration of Headteachers and Governors, the Principal of Northbook College of Further Education, the County Council and Worthing Borough Council has produced a proposal that could be brought forward for public consultation this year if the funding was available to deliver the vital infrastructure.
“A potential obstacle to the proposals has been the need for another secondary school site but a time limited opportunity has emerged which would see a new secondary site as part of the proposals to cater for the extra numbers coming through the primary sector.
“Northbrook College, who work in partnership with local schools and the County Council, have an area surplus to requirements on their campus which would be available for disposal in their development plan and would be well placed to work with us and the local heads and principals to develop a new academy or free school.”
Peter has told the Minister that the opportunity offered by the Department’s Targeted Basic Needs programme comes at a time when there is ‘strong support to consult on proposals which parents have sought for many years.’
His letter says that key players behind the scheme would be happy to meet the Minister to explain more about the proposals.
Peter said today: “I hope that our bid for a share of this major new funding stream will be forthcoming because this would bring the community together with a single objective.
“There is a strong feeling based on local and national evidence that attainment levels, which are already good in the Worthing area, can be further improved with a change in the pattern of schools.”
Pictured: County Councillor Bob Smytherman with Lib Dem Minister David Laws MP during a visit to Worthing.