Ongoing issues with West Sussex secondary school places must be rectified

There have been issues with allocation of secondary school places
There have been issues with allocation of secondary school places

I cannot recall a more contentious ‘secondary school places allocation day’, with social media exploding after an avalanche of questionable decisions.

Twins at risk of being sent to separate schools miles apart, youngsters not getting any of their three secondary school choices – let alone their preferred one – and even reports that a lad in Crawley was looking at a 60-mile round trip each day to attend a school in Worthing!

Ian Hart

Ian Hart

Read more: Worthing school-split twins offered places at same school - but still miss out on all three choices

The question is, did anyone at the education department actually see this ‘iceberg’ on the horizon?

I would hazard a guess at yes – the forms have been in since way before Christmas.

Unfortunately, several of my friends with children have been affected. One young lady has been educated throughout her school life in the Durrington area and naturally put Durrington High as her first choice, with two other local schools at two and three. She got a school in Lancing.

It begs the question is this not tantamount to child cruelty? Unless something changes, she will be nervous and apprehensive between now and the first day of term in September.

Read more: Parents speak out over secondary school allocation in West Sussex

West Sussex County Council oversees the register of births and admission to full-time education at reception level. They know the numbers involved and unless they’re sat in the corner of the office with a big ‘D’ on their hat, surely have a good idea of what is coming years ahead of time.

This goes back at least five years. There was clearly a need for a new senior school in the Worthing area but Bohunt is not big enough and was built in the wrong place.

Read more: Everything you need to know about how secondary school places are assigned in West Sussex

There’s quite a big piece of land to the north of Goring station which would have been ideal. Bohunt could have been accommodated there and a school along similar lines of Durrington High could have been built.

While children’s education and development should be a priority, in this case the powers that be are either blinkered or something else – possibly more financially lucrative – is earmarked for that plot of land?

One thing for sure, it’s not going to get any better – my source at the council informs me the next year’s secondary school intake is potentially higher than this year’s.

Our local children cannot be failed by the education system, so what can be done to rectify these ongoing issues?

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