Schools expanded to tackle places crisis

The new entrance at St Nicolas and St Mary when it was officially opened in March S10169H14
The new entrance at St Nicolas and St Mary when it was officially opened in March S10169H14

SCHOOL places hit crisis point in Shoreham as parents battled to get their children into their chosen site from September.

But West Sussex County Council says it has handled the problem, introducing extra classes at two schools to create enough spaces.

At primary level, there is pressure on space because more and more families are moving into the area.

At senior school level, some parents say Shoreham Beach is suffering as more and more people vie for places at Shoreham Academy, in Kingston Lane.

David Etherton, head teacher at St Nicolas and St Mary Primary School, in Eastern Avenue, said the demand for places at his school was very high.

For the third year running, the school was taking an extra reception class but there was still a number of appeals for places this year.

Mr Etherton said: “There is a crisis in the area and many schools are short of places. Many people are moving to the area from London, Brighton and Hove and overseas.

“We are delighted that for the third year running, we are able to take an additional reception class.

“Our strong Christian ethos, excellent academic record and creative curriculum are attracting many families to our school.”

Nearly £1million has already been spent on building works, including an additional school hall.

Mr Etherton said: “We hope that phase two, to build eight new classrooms, will be given the go ahead shortly. In the meantime, we will have a mobile classroom to cope with the bulging numbers.”

At Shoreham Academy, many children are having to be turned away because it is oversubscribed.

The school received an outstanding Ofsted rating in 2012 and since then, many youngsters, especially those on Shoreham Beach, have had to travel to Lancing, or even Worthing instead.

A spokesman for the county council said: “This year, Shoreham Academy was oversubscribed in its catchment area, which means not all children were able to be offered a place. Many parents were offered their second preference and some were offered an alternative school within a reasonable distance.”

Extra classes at St Nicolas and St Mary School and Buckingham Park School has been introduced to provide enough spaces in primary schools in the area.