Have a say...

I would like to encourage your readers to respond to our proposals ‘Planning Worthing Schools for the Future’.

In contrast to other areas of West Sussex, the majority of schools in the Worthing localities are currently organised as first, middle and high schools. Worthing schools have a rising pupil roll, with pressure for places in some areas.

The local authority and the head teachers of Worthing schools have worked together to address the need for more reception places in September 2013 in the short term and to consider changes to the age of transfer, in the longer term. It has also been considering how this age of transfer can be accommodated within the secondary sector.

I have been trying to attend as many public meetings as I can to listen to feedback to our proposals. Many of the responses at the meetings and on our website so far support a change in the age of transfer to secondary school. This – and the need to ensure that we have school places in the right place – means that there would have to be change in the primary school system.

However, it is really important that I emphasise that no decisions have been taken at this stage. The whole point of consultation is that proposals can be changed and improved by the views of those who live locally. It is very usual for some of our proposals to change after input from parents, residents and other community representatives, such as governors.

In the new year I expect to spend a long time reading the notes of all meetings and seeing the responses for each school. I want to be able to come to a decision on whether to move forward to the next stage of consultation or to re-consult on proposals based on as much informed feedback as possible. Our consultation document, which is available in schools and on our website, sets out the guiding principles for change.

So, please let us have your views, preferably by using the online survey on the ‘Have Your Say’ section of our website – www.westsussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay – or by completing and returning the response form in the consultation document.

Peter Evans

cabinet member for Children – Start of Life

West Sussex County Council