Worthing boys’ school can turn coeducational from next year

A boys-only schools in Worthing has been given the go-ahead to turn coeducational from next September.

Friday, 24th July 2020, 5:25 pm
St Andrew's CE High School for Boys in Worthing. Photo by Derek Martin

According to West Sussex County Council demand for places at single-sex boys’ schools in the county has been declining in recent years, evidenced by a falling number of families applying for boys’ schools as first preferences.

As a result Horsham’s Forest School and St Andrew’s CE High School for Boys in Worthing have been looking at becoming coeducational and accepting girls from September 2021.

A consultation was held in June and Nigel Jupp, the county council’s cabinet member for education and skills has supported the changes at both secondary schools.

A statement from St Andrew’s said: “The Governors of St Andrew’s CE High School are delighted to announce that the cabinet member for education and skills has approved the application for a change of status to allow the school community to welcome girls from September 2021.

“They are excited for this new phase in the future of St Andrew’s and new headteacher, Mia Lowney, is eager to continue further development of improvements seen in the last two years, embracing the opportunities that this presents to the school and wider Worthing community.”

Mr Jupp said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part in the public consultation and helped me make an informed decision. This positive change would give a greater choice to female pupils in both Worthing and Horsham when they decide where they want to go to secondary school.

“The Forest School and St Andrew’s becoming coeducational fits into our school effectiveness strategy’s aims to achieve high performing and financially sustainable schools in West Sussex that benefit the children and communities for years to come.”

This would mean each new Year 7 group would be coeducational, with no changes proposed to existing year groups already on the roll.

There are no changes proposed at either Horsham’s Millais School or Davison CE High School for Girls in Worthing.

According to an officers’ report: “Whilst there is mixed evidence about the progress of boys in single-sex schools compared to co-educational schools, the teaching professionals and governing bodies in both schools recognise many benefits of the schools becoming co-educational and see this as an opportunity to further improve provision and to drive standards higher.

“The two boys’ schools are the only ones remaining in West Sussex as Chichester High School for Boys and Chichester High School for Girls merged several years ago to create a coeducational school due to the limited popularity of the single-sex boys’ school.”

A total of 611 responses were received in response to the consultation for St Andrew’s.

Of these 53 per cent in support, 39 per cent against and eight per cent uncertain.

Those in favour mentioned the educational outcome for boys improving if girls were admitted, while some thought single-sex schools were seen as ‘outdated’.

Respondents against suggested discipline is more beneficial to male pupils in a single-sex school, such schools provide an education specific to boys and what interests them most and that proposals would not be fair unless the girls’ schools also become coeducational.

A four-week period of representation will now take place.

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