A WORTHING secondary school has won government support in proposals to increase its year seven admission intake.
Despite objections from West Sussex County Council and Durrington High School, a government schools adjudicator has approved St Andrew’s CE High School’s plan to increase its year seven admission number (AN) from 30 to 40 in 2012.
St Andrew’s started admitting pupils to year seven in 2009, and the AN number has remained at 30 ever since.
Adjudicator John Simpson said in his report that the majority of the school’s AN intake came from outside the local area. Most pupils from the local area entered the school in year eight, where the AN is 145.
This, when added to the 30 pupils transferring from year seven, represented a year eight group roll of 175 if all places were taken.
“In recent years, the school has been over-subscribed, particularly into the small year seven group, although the number of first preferences in both years seven and eight declined from 2010 and 2011, and not all year eight places were filled in September, 2011,” said Mr Simpson.
Mr Simpson said transfer to secondary schools in the Worthing area took place at the end of year seven. But in Adur district (Lancing and Shoreham) a change of transfer age from the end of year seven to the end of year six took place in September, 2009.
Prior to this date, pupils attending St Nicolas and St Mary’s CE Primary School, in Shoreham, had traditionally transferred to the school and to the nearby Davison CE High School for Girls, in Worthing.
“Consequently,” said Mr Simpson, “to fill a gap in year seven provision for parents who sought a continuous Church of England education for their child, year seven classes with an AN of 30 were established at the school and at Davison to enable this link to continue.
“To further help ensure access to the year seven class at the school for parents who live in Adur district and who are regular worshippers, the school’s highest priority over-subscription criteria (after children in care) for year seven combined attendance at an Adur district primary school with regular worship.”
Mr Simpson said the head teacher of Durrington High School had objected to the increases. “She noted that Durrington High and Worthing High were now the only schools in the council’s area without any year seven provision and that, if such provision were to be expanded, it should be in these schools where parental demand for such places also exists.”
The county council told the Herald it opposed the 10 extra spaces for boys in year seven at St Andrew’s School because it could affect other local schools and meant there would be inequity between the number of places for boys and girls.
“However, the impact is limited by the small number of places concerned,” said the council.