Lancing school considers catchment area extension into Shoreham

Sir Robert Woodard Academy
Sir Robert Woodard Academy

A Lancing school is holding a consultation on proposals to absorb a large chunk of the catchment area from Shoreham Academy.

The academy council at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Upper Boundstone Lane, Lancing, is considering extending the school’s catchment area to cover three primary schools in the west of Shoreham from 2019.

The schools include Swiss Gardens Primary School, Shoreham Beach Primary School, and Buckingham Park Primary School.

Kieran Scanlon, headteacher at Sir Robert Woodard Academy, said the time was right for the school to reassess its admissions policy, which had become ‘a bit outdated’.

But he said that ‘not an awful lot’ would change. He said: “It won’t mean children have to come here.

“The same rules will apply.”

The school already took many students from west Shoreham, he said, adding that this academic year saw the introduction a school bus from Shoreham to Lancing for some year seven students.

“As the population grows, we want to be part of the solution,” he said.

“As our school is improving rapidly we are trying to raise the profile of the school and we certainly want to give more people an opportunity to list us as an option.”

He confirmed the academy would not be increasing the number of pupils admitted.

“It is part of our philosophy to keep it a medium sized school,” he said.

A West Sussex County Council spokesman said there had been ‘increased interest’ from parents in west Shoreham in places at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy.

The spokesman added that, as an academy, the school acts as its own Admissions Authority.

A spokesman from a parent campaign group, Future Adur Schools Team (FAST), said the group did not believe the catchment extension would cause much change, other than ‘formalising that Shoreham Academy can no longer guarantee a place to local Shoreham children’ – something it said ‘has already been true for last couple of years’.

While the academy in Lancing was ‘a very realistic destination for many Shoreham children’, transport to the school was ‘a big issue’, with the provided school mini bus not factoring in afterschool activites.

The spokesman said: “There is the longer term issue that this still will probably not be enough to meet all demand.

“With existing growth of cohorts expanding, and then Monks Farm and Sompting developments moving towards happening, the Sir Robert Woodard Academy will also soon be full in the next few of years.

“It will need further expansion or a new school to meet future demand in our opinion.

“But the million dollar question is where could that go?”

FAST has assessed statistics in the area and have highlighted a ‘looming shortage’ of secondary school places in Adur.

Members of FAST have planned to meet with Tim Loughton MP and local stakeholders, including Mr Scanlon, to discuss the issue of school places tomorrow (Friday, January 12).