Thank you for your headline article about the change in schooling in Worthing.
It is certainly the case that we are facing a once-in-a-lifetime change for the education of our children and, for that reason, it is important that there is full public awareness of what is happening.
Chairmen of governors and head teachers have been aware of the possible changes for some time. On the issue of the change of age of transfer (the change away from middle schools), there is agreement among the chairmen and heads as how to proceed, and we are waiting for the time when that can be announced.
The news of funding by central government of a new secondary school is what we have all been waiting for and will break the decade-long log-jam. It is extremely good news in and of itself.
At last, Worthing will be catching up with the rest of the county (and country) and have an age of transfer that is in line with the SATs examination system.
But there is bad news in your article.
It seems that only three secondary schools are to receive grants from central government (Davison, Durrington and the new school, whose timetable for completion seems very optimistic). This funding excludes St Andrew’s, Chatsmore and Worthing High. If that is the case (and one hopes there might be an announcement of a further tranche of money), these last three will have no money for the transition needed to bring in the extra year-seven children. Does this mean that they will all become smaller, sink schools with fewer facilities, while the others become mega schools?
If so, this is not good for our children. One suspects that they are being punished for having less good OFSTEDs right now. Yet all of them have potential for excellence. It is preferable by far that we see funding across the board to see a permanent rise in standard by all. Will our county council members and MPs lobby for their funding?
Finally, we have not heard anything yet about the funding for the new primary sector. This will be crucial as some schools need to expand and all will need to adapt.
Given the rise in numbers of children (caused by building infill, local and international migration and increased birth rates), there is probably the need for a new primary school in the south of Worthing. Again, we look forward to news on that funding.
So, we can give one hearty cheer for the excellent news of a new secondary school. Let us lobby our representatives for the funding needed for the three cheers our children deserve.
The Rev John Chitham
chairman of governors
Heene CE First School