Worthing pupils’ lateness is caused by school place problem

Some Worthing schoolchildren are being late for lessons because parents have to deliver siblings at two different schools.

And county and borough councillor Bob Smytherman has told West Sussex County Council that this is as a result of many Worthing residents not receiving their first, second or third choice schools.

Mr Smytherman, chairman of Worthing County Local Committee (CLC), has told county education and schools cabinet member Peter Griffiths that parents were having to drop/collect siblings at different schools, sometimes miles apart.

This meant one or both children were late for school, particularly if the parents did not have access to a car.

Mr Smytherman said the committee was also “very concerned” about the impact of schools converting to academies would have on the provision of school places, and the effect on the age of transfer in Worthing.

“As you know, Worthing is the only area of the county which still operates the first, middle and high school system, and the committee would like a clearer idea of when this is likely to change to be in line with 
the rest of West Sussex,” he said.

Mr Griffiths replied: “I recognise that some parents are inconvenienced by the practical arrangements of siblings being at different schools, and would always encourage parents to contact the pupil admission team to explore if it is possible to place their siblings in the same school.

“I appreciate that this may not be possible in their catchment school.”

Mr Griffiths said that pupil numbers in West Sussex were increasing, and in Worthing the growth was particularly marked.

Over the period 2011/12 to 2015/16 the total schools population in Worthing borough was expected to increase from 13,178 to 14,531, with the greatest increase occurring in the primary sector.

“Additional places have been added to many schools in the Worthing and Durrington localities,” he continued.

“In total, nine first and middle schools are currently included in the county council’s capital programme with 
allocations to provide extra spaces.”

Mr Griffiths also provided the following figures. He said at the end of the last academic year, records from the pupil admission team indicated the parents of 52 pupils were in the situation of being offered a school place for which 
they had not made a preference.

Of these 52, nine of these applications were made on-time with preferences for their catchment school, 23 of these were made late and included a catchment school.

Eleven applications were made on time but did not make a preference for a catchment school and nine applications were made late and did not make a preference for a catchment school.

Mr Griffiths said he and his team were willing to meet the Worthing CLC if further information was required.