Two West Worthing schools will be primaries from 2015

W48877H13''Parents out side Elm Grove First School Protesting about the new catchment area
W48877H13''Parents out side Elm Grove First School Protesting about the new catchment area

RESPONSES to West Sussex County Council’s consultation regarding the future of schools in Worthing has led to changes to the original proposals.

Staff and parents of Elm Grove First School reacted strongly to proposals that the school would become a three-form entry infant school, with children transferring to Thomas A Becket Junior School at the end of year two.

Now it will be a one-entry primary school while Goring First School will become a two-form entry primary school.

Both schools created Epetitions in response to the consultation which received a total of 626 signatures and the Elm Grove Parent Staff Association carried out its own survey for which 110 responses were received.

Parent Mark Ford set up the petition and Facebook page for Elm Grove.

He said: “I am delighted that the council has listened to parents and taken on-board the feedback from the consultation.

“We still need to see the details regarding catchment area and how current pupils will be effected, but parents’ main concern (having to get across the railway line) has been answered.”

The amendment also has an impact on the proposals for Thomas A Becket first and middle schools and requires Thomas A Becket First School to become a six- form entry infant school and the middle school to be fed by a single feeder school as a six form entry junior school.

Orchards Middle School will be a four-form entry junior school which will complement the four-form entry infant school (Field Place First School) on the same site.

Colin James, head of capital infrastructure at the county council, said: “I think there has been real value to the consultation and it has showed us how some things can be done better.

“The revised proposals look at how we can reduce the traffic flow across South West Worthing at school drop off and pick up times.

“Parents were concerned about the practicality of the initial proposals for that area, in particular the traffic at the West Worthing level crossing.

“A primary school at Elm Grove will take away the need for many parents to be moving up and down.”

Tied into the consultation was a proposed change to the age of transfer, meaning children would start secondary school at the age of 11, the end of Key Stage Two of the National Curriculum, instead of the current age of 12.

Of those that responded, 76.6 per cent said they supported the proposed changes while 73.3 per cent agreed with the principle of establishing ‘all-through’ primary schools for children aged four to 11 years wherever possible, instead of the current structure of first and middle schools.

Peter Evans, cabinet member for Children – Start of Life, Peter Evans, said: “The consultation was a very useful exercise as it not only showed there is a high level of support for these changes, but it also raised a number of important issues which needed careful consideration.

“Having listened thoroughly to all the views raised and in response I have decided to make some amendments to four of the original proposals, which will minimise travel distances for parents and add to the number of all-through primaries.”

Providing no further objections are received during the notice period and a further six-week period of public consultation, the changes will be rolled out from September 2015.