Durrington High School has pulled out of sponsoring the new academy that will be built in Worthing next year.
Sue Marooney, head teacher of Durrington High School, on behalf of the Durrington Multi Academy Trust, today wrote to parents, expressing the ‘regrettable decision’.
She said: “As a responsible Trust with a clear educational vision we have carefully looked at the proposal in Worthing to deliver a new secondary school. “We have thoroughly investigated and considered all aspects and options; our concerns about the site being unsuitable to deliver our vision remain. This regrettably leaves us with no option but to withdraw from sponsoring the new secondary academy in Worthing.
“As a Trust we remain committed to our community and to providing excellence in education and will continue to work in partnership with all parties.’
“As you can imagine, this was a very difficult decision to make but, as ever, we remain committed to our community and to excellence.”
The news follows concerns raised by Ms Marooney regarding the budget for the new school, the site and an unrealistic opening time.
She said: “The sixth Worthing secondary school should not be a poor relation.”
West Sussex County Council has said it is ‘disappointed’ after hearing that the Durrington Multi Academy Trust has withdrawn from sponsoring the new secondary academy in Worthing.
Jeremy Hunt, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for education and skills, said: “We are disappointed at the news but are fully committed to this new school opening and are confident that the Department for Education will be able to find another excellent sponsor.
“We are grateful that this decision has been made promptly to allow a new sponsor as much time as possible to engage with parents and plan a successful school for the future.”
The Department for Education can now proceed to identify a new sponsor for the school which is due to open in September 2015.
The county council and the Department for Education have both confirmed that the new school is achievable within the allocated budget on the identified site – land currently owned by Northbrook College in Broadwater.
The budget of £12.4 million, which has been calculated by central government, needs to be spent by September 2015.