New free schools approved for West Sussex
The government has given permission for seven new free schools to be opened in West Sussex.
The schools in Horsham, Broadbridge Heath, Crawley, Haywards Heath, Worthing and Shoreham were part of a wave of 131 applications approved by the Department for Education today (April 12).Bohunt Horsham, will be an all-through school for children aged 4-16 and is due to open in September 2019. It is expected to have a full capacity of 1,620 by 2025.GLF Schools plans to open Wickhurst Green Primary School, in Broadbridge Heath, Kilnwood Vale Primary School on the new development between Horsham and Crawley, and Forge Wood High School, which will be a secondary school in Crawley’s newest neighbourhood.Hurst Farm Primary Academy, in Haywards Heath, will be run by the Sussex Learning Trust, while the New Horizons West Durrington (Bluebell) Primary and St Clement CE Primary Academy will open in Worthing and Shoreham-by-Sea respectively.The application for St Clement was submitted to be a 'sister' school to St Nicolas and St Mary CE Primary.With the need for more school places in the area increasing, executive headteacher David Etherton described the application's approval as "great news for parents".He added: "We expect St Clement will open in September 2018 in line with DfE timescales. Although this will not relieve the immediate pressure for places for 2017/18, it does mean that there will be an additional 60 reception places in Shoreham for 2018/19."Since 2015, 124 free schools have opened across the UK, with a further 373 in the pipeline, including this latest wave.A spokesman for the Department for Education said the government was “on track to meet its manifesto commitment of opening 500 more new free schools by September 2020”. She added the 131 new schools would create more than 69,000 new places, including more than 4,000 for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.Jon Chaloner, CEO for GLF Schools, said: “We are pleased that our proposals for these three schools have been approved. "We successfully opened Forge Wood Primary School in Crawley in September 2016 and look forward to working with the new communities in Kilnwood Vale and Wickhurst Green.”He added: "We know that there has been an increase in primary school places in Crawley in recent years, with many schools being expanded and new schools like Forge Wood being opened, and therefore there will not be enough secondary school places in Crawley in the coming years.”Bohunt Horsham will be the sixth school in the Bohunt Education Trust network. The Trust's CEO Neil Strowger said: “We are delighted that our application to open our new free school, Bohunt Horsham, has been approved by the Department for Education. "The school will provide a high-quality, seamless education from age four to 16 for more than 1,600 children and young people in the local area.”Education Secretary Justine Greening said: "We need schools that can bring out the best in every single child no matter where they're growing up, how much their parents earn, or however different their talents are."That's why these new schools are so important - they give us the school places we need for the future, and they also give parents more choices to find a great school place in their area that's right for their child."But, with schools facing ever-increasing financial pressures and the government being told there is not enough money in the education budget, some headteachers are asking how much the free schools scheme had cost - and why that money could not be spent on those already struggling to balance the books.
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